Ryuijie: Memories in Water

Viewpoint Gallery presents the works of well known photographer Ryuijie in an exhibition titled “Memories in Water,” during the month of August. The show contains photographs from two major bodies of work: Ice Forms, botanicals frozen in blocks of ice, and Kanchi, in which Ryuijie and his assistant, Camille Lenore, free-dive for images underwater, off the coast of Central California.

Ice Forms:  In December 2003 Ryuijie started envisioning botanicals frozen in blocks of ice ­– like the small fragments of nature frozen in a piece of amber – insects and leaves that can be viewed by holding them up to the light. Within a few days he was photographing. The first few days were spent overcoming some technical problems. Soon he had completed a dozen 16x20 prints. The response to them was very encouraging and Ryuijie sought out new materials to freeze and photograph. The prints are all split-toned gelatin silver. He did want to maintain a warm color so he borrowed a technique to create a split toned effect using Kodak poly toner and a water bath. He is now printing most of the Ice Forms as 20x24 gelatin silver prints, and a few platinum prints on request.

Kanchi:  In 2006, Ryuijie and his assistant, Camille Lenore, took a shared love of photography underwater. The underwater world is a place of silence (kanchi means "the quiet place"), allowing for personal meditation and also for the opportunity to get very close to the subjects to be photographed, especially as the two dive without scuba equipment.

Ryujie explains that “the refracted, diffused, and ghostly underwater light and the monochrome palette allow us to create more abstract images than are usually seen in conventional underwater photography. We are sometimes hard-pressed to even identify the creatures suspended in each frame. What we find so intriguing are the shapes and forms of life and the quality of light that exist only underwater.”

Each of the Kanchi photographs is handmade using a platinum/palladium mix, a printing process that goes back 150 years. No two prints are exactly the same, and once the print is processed, it is absolutely permanent.

Ryuijie adds, “We are not naturalists. We are not fishermen. We have a deep respect for the oceans and for the life that inhabits them. We bring home only what the camera sees.”




Ice Form




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Viewpoint Photographic Art Center is the proud recipient of a SMAC Cultural Arts Award grant.

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