Kitashiobara Village, Fukushima, 2016

Depending on where you stand on the spectrum of environmental engineering, Japan’s monolithic yet ubiquitous cement structures are either pork-barrel politics suffocating the landscape, or engineering marvels that sustain life. The photographer Toshio Shibata offers a third, more neutral stance. A poetic and abstract look at nature being intertwined with man-made structures.

Nikko City, Tochigi Prefecture, 2008

Born in 1949, Shibata began his career in Japan, explains Laurence Miller Gallery, “and the photographs he made there explore the striking visual dichotomy, but also the poetry and even elegance, of an increasingly constructed Japanese landscape.” The strength and gracefulness of water is captured as it passes and pours through constructed channels and pathways. Bridges, dams and cement blankets that reinforce cliffs and mountain sides are all common motifs.

Toshio Shibata’s work was recently on view at the Ibasho gallery in Antwerp, Belgium.

Nishimeya Village, Aomori Prefecture, 2018

Kamikawa Town,Hokkaido 2009

Hidakagawa Town, Wakayama Prefecture, 2019

Kijo Town, Miyazaki Prefecture, 2011

Hamada City, Shimane Prefecture 2009