Kenji Ishikawa Travels the World Taking Photographs Using Only Moonlight

“Iguazu Falls and Rainbows,” taken in Argentina by Kenji Ishikawa

Lighting is one of the most critical elements of photography it can literally make or break the end result. And if there’s anyone who understands the importance of light it’s Kenji Ishikawa. The 74-year old Japanese photographer has been travelling the world for the last 35 years taking photographs with one of the most minimal forms of light: moonlight.

 “Jomon cedar” taken on Yakushima island

As you probably know, moonlight is mostly sunlight that’s reflected off the lunar surface. So it varies greatly depending on the phase of the moon. Put differently, the magnitude of the full Moon is only about 1/380,000 that of the Sun. But that hasn’t stopped Ishikawa from capturing some otherworldly views of our planet.

Rather than the blue-lit sky of day, Ishikawa’s images show a dark blue seems to connect the stars and skies with the trees and bodies of water of our planet. Ishikawa calls this gekkouyoku (月光浴) meaning literally “bathing in moonlight.”

Kenji Ishikawa’s images are currently on display at IMS Hall in Fukuoka, on the 9th floor of the IMS department store. The photos, part of an exhibition titled “Space of Spirit,” are on view through September 25, 2019. General Admission is 800 yen.

“Monument Valley” taken in the United States
“Cape and Wave” shot in Saipan 
Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia
Shot on Itoshima, Fukuoka


  1. These photos are amazing. the whole concept to take photos by the moonlight is brilliant. During full moons, I can always see my backyard so clearly and just from the moonlight and thought it looked mystical and with that same deep blue tint to everything catching the light. Because of that I always wondered if a camera could take a photo with only the moonlight as the light source. Seeing Kenji Ishikawa’s photos proves that I wasn’t alone in see the beauty of the moonlight night. Though in some of Ishikawa’s photos the light coming from the moon is so bright that it looks like the sun glaring.

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