Jerry Berry: The Chi of Koi and Smoke

Exhibit Dates: 
Tuesday, Jun. 6 to Saturday, Jul. 1
Artist Reception: 
Friday, Jun. 9 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm
2nd Saturday Opening: 
Saturday, Jun. 10 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm

Jerry Berry’s inspiration for these images comes from his interest in Zen, Asian culture, and painting.  Koi have been an inspiration for artists for millennia; especially in the Asian traditions. The beauty of color, form, and movement of these fish bring much joy to the viewer. Berry’s interpretations of Koi have been developed based on his growth as a photographer and artist.  He says that “as photographers we are taught that our camera is the perfect tool to capture the ‘defining moment’ and is unequaled at reproducing finely focused images of sharpness and detail. We subsequently strive to perfect our craft with this in mind.” 

He feels that the story of time and motion could be lost if the photographer freezes an image defining that moment. The spontaneity of movement and life can be lost when it is defined as an instant of time by the fast shutter speed of a camera. By allowing his camera to capture a longer portion of time/life and letting the koi become his brush stroking the canvas of his camera sensor; he blends the strengths of photographic art with those of a painter. Alan Watts in The Way of Zen, best describes Berry’s approach to his subjects as he describes Zen in the following passage: “…for Zen there is no duality, no conflict between the natural element of chance and the human element of control.”

According to Berry “One of the most striking features of a Sung landscape (Chinese art) and the Japanese sumi-e (ink wash paintings) as a whole, which I try to incorporate in my photographs, is the relative emptiness of a painting that appears to be part of the image and not just unpainted background. This provides space from which the event suddenly appears.” Berry believes that this weds the captured image to the medium from which it is displayed, giving the viewer full disclosure to the intentions of the artist in providing textures as an integral part of the image.  In his smoke based images, the sensuous lines of smoke that have been influenced by air currents form the foundation of the landscapes and portraits he creates. He is excited to see that the quality of the yin(dark) and yang(light) versions of these images are equally beautiful and have qualities that are unique even though the images may be the same. 

Recently Berry found himself trying to explain the differences in the way that a Western mind sees an image. He was enlightened by a Japanese woman explaining how the Western eyes see the geese flying while the Eastern eye sees the wind lifting the geese to the heavens.


© Jerry Berry


© Jerry Berry


© Jerry Berry


© Jerry Berry



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