Naoya Hatakeyama, well known in Japan for his large-scale photographs of man's impact on natural settings, can trace his fascination with altered landscapes to his childhood growing up around limestone quarries in the town of Rikuzentakata, where his father worked in a cement factory.
"He is drawn to places in flux, where some sort of industrial situation is happening," noted Lisa Sutcliffe, assistant curator at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where Hatakeyama's first solo exhibition in the U.S., "Natural Stories," runs through Nov. 4. Organized in conjunction with the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, the photos span his career during the last three decades.
Hatakeyama, 54, studied at the School of Art and Design and at the University of Tsukuba before undertaking his first series, "Lime Hills." The striking, bold images of dug-out mountains make it tough to look past the beauty to the intrusion.
"I try to create works which need no explanations, no stories, no words," he said in an email from the Venice Biennale, where he was installing a large 360-degree mural panorama for the Japanese pavilion. "I believe the work can be independent and mysterious but also attractive."