Chieko Shiraishi
in Carleton-sur-Mer


Shikawatari (Deer Crossing)

Chieko Shiraishi, Tokyo, Japan |

“While visiting the region in the middle of winter, I saw from a distance a group of sika deer crossing a frozen lake at dusk. As I watched the herd, connected to the sky and the forest on the same line, I marveled at the providence of nature. I had the impression of witnessing something sacred.” – Chieko Shiraishi

The images in the series Shikawatari (Deer Crossing), which seem almost to have been done using graphite, were taken in the landscapes of northern Japan, on the island of Hokkaido.

The central theme is a herd that Chieko Shiraishi followed for a number of years, sometimes from far off, sometimes getting closer when that was possible. Seeming to be stirred by a space-time specific to each, the grass, stones, clouds and wild animals in turns stand out and then disappear in the great snowy expanses, the frozen lakes and the dry woodlands.

These photos, in which the human presence grows silent, reveal the photographer’s wanderings and her coming face-to-face with this kingdom where living things and mystical spirits meet up. We find ourselves, before Shiraishi’s images, guided by the deer, transported to the gates of an enchanting and sacred world.


Shikawatari (Deer Crossing)

Chieko Shiraishi is a Japanese photographer born in 1968 in Yokosuka, Japan. A true virtuoso of the silver print (she studied photography and darkroom development notably with Katsuhito Nakazato and Kazuo Kitai), she uses this technique to better enhance her images. Her very special world is poetic and deeply introspective. Shiraishi’s photobook Shikawatari received the prestigious Higashikawa Prize Special Photographer Award in May 2021.