At some point on our life, there must be a need for solitude. To wander aimlessly without any destination, to soak whatever life has offered for us and to be completely honest with ourselves. Some people achieve solitude in by taking meditation and some other prefer to travel on their own. Masakazu Murakami is the second type of people.
On his book Kumogakure Onsen, Masakazu-san share his period of solitude. He travelled through the Onsen (hot-springs) in Japan, taking photographs of the Onsen and the cities where the hot-spring located. There is nothing special about the subjects that Masakazu photographed; the roads that he took, people taking a bath and steams overflowing the cities. His choice of using black and white film as well as the way he photographed the subjects however signifies what he has gone through.
The images in the book blends the banality of reality with an idea of restlessness, one of the main reason why one decides to be on their own. Even the faces of the subjects that he photographed did not convey any sort of emotion, creating this question that do people come to Onsen to have spiritual healing?
Overall the I feel the book has been able to convey the idea of restlessness and the need of having a relationship with solitude. The photographs have been edited in such a way that it truly depicted that what Masakazu felt. The editing is superb and the even though some details were lost, I can still feel the emotion that Masakazu wants to convey.
Like the steams the Onsen produces, one’s restlessness will also go away eventually. It would probably take some time but it will. This book has shown why a period of solitude is necessary to find oneself, to calibrate our compass and to realize that time would eventually heal.
Bottom line: A book on solitude, restlessness and mists.
Concept of book: 3
Photography - Edit/sequence: 4
Production quality: 4
I am using the cphmag rating scale which you refer to here