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BY WALL DONE, 08/05/2013

If you're not into dams, water catchments, bridges, roads, and other feats of engineering that strike the eye as being unexceptional, the following images will probably not leave you in awe. If you are then...well, welcome to the dark side.

"Toshio Shibata, Constructed Landscapes” is on view at the Peabody Essex Museum through Dec. 31. The show consists of 28 photographs, taken between 1988 and 2012. Some are as large as 49 by 60 inches (125x150cm). None is smaller than 25 by 30 inches (63x76cm).

Toshio Shibata is no ordinary landscape photographer. He takes photographs of structures that normally only a civil engineer would pause to appreciate.

I take a lot of photographs and show very few. If there is too much reality, too much identifiable sense of time and place, I don’t show these images. I have taken around 4,000 plates with my 8 x 10 camera and of those I show about one percent. I try to eliminate the reality, time and any sense of specific place. Of course this is extremely difficult with photography. Within a frame there are so many elements that are present and you cannot choose those that you want to keep and those that you want to eliminate. The only elements that you can control are contrast and tonality, light essentially. With painting all the ‘unnecessary’ parts in a scene can be eliminated. With photography, you just have to accept what is there. That is where the difficulty of photography lies. Photography is not something that you can make. It cannot be forced. You have to accept the subject. << The quote is an excerpt from the following interview.

The exhibition is made possible by the East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum.

All images © Toshio Shibata

Wall done MAGAZINE