Takeshi Shikama- Platinum Printer (Upcoming Event)

August 30, 2013

I was recently introduced to the work of Japanese photographer Takeshi Shikama who specialises in printing exquisite platinum & palladium prints on hand-made Japanese gampi paper.

He kindly sent me some of his prints to view last week as I am in the process of writing an article about his work however I wanted to give those people interested a heads up about an event which he will be hosting next week in Edinburgh, Thursday 5 September at 6.30pm at the Inspace lab, University of Edinburgh.

Takeshi has been an artist in residence at Sabhal Mor Ostaig in Skye this summer and some of his brand new platinum prints of stone circles in Scotland will be available to view, as well as some older prints. Full details including booking information can be found here

If you are in the area this is an event not to miss, his prints really have to be viewed in person as they have a very unique signature to them that sets them apart from other platinum prints I have viewed over the years. Below shows some examples that were sent to me (click image for larger view.)


ts 2_final

Toyosawa Lake 1,Takeshi Shikama, 2009,Platinum/Palladium on Japanese Gampi Paper,



Mt Ishizuchi 14,Takeshi Shikama, 2010,Platinum/Palladium on Japanese Gampi Paper



Mt Ishizuchi 14,Takeshi Shikama, 2010,Platinum/Palladium on Japanese Gampi Paper,



Mt Ishizuchi 14 (Detail),Takeshi Shikama, 2010,Platinum/Palladium on Japanese Gampi Paper

Takeshi Shikama was born in Tokyo in 1948, after a lengthy career as a designer, Shikama turned to photography and began making work which would ultimately become “Silent Respiration of Forests.”. The project began when the Japanese artist  began building a mountain lodge by hand from trees he felled himself on-site. Shikama’s photographs are made in Japan and are both startling and quiet; they reveal the darkness, textures, and infinite variety of the forest.

“One day in early autumn in 2001, just as twilight was setting in, I had lost track of the mountain paths. I happened to wander into a shady forest, where I found myself suddenly seized with a strong desire to take photographs. The following day, I set out once again, carrying my camera with me this time, and searched for the same forest. This experience made me realize that I was not taking photographs of the forest out of my own will, but that the forest was inducing me to take its photographs.

Looking back in retrospect, I have a feeling that this might have all begun with my decision to build a mountain lodge with my own hands. In order to clear a plot of land for constructing a lodge inside a small forest, I had to fell Japanese red pine trees some eighty years old. Although many years have elapsed since then, I still vividly remember the sensation I had as I sat astride the felled down trees, stripping them of their barks. The trees collapsed onto the ground with a huge thud, making my entire body tremble; I looked up and remained motionless for a while, totally overwhelmed by the vastness of the sky. Almost as if stained by the blood rushing from another person’s wound, I was covered with splashes of tree sap spurting from the edge of the blade of my hatchet. This made me acutely aware of the living energy of the trees, and I immediately decided to make the most of this power in the lodge I was about to build.

It took me some ten years to finish constructing the lodge. Thirty-six Japanese red pine trees growing in that forest were used for the ground sills, the central pillar and the beams. This probably explains why it is so very cozy and comfortable inside my mountain lodge. While continuously handling wood for building my lodge, I believe that I have come to feel things I could neither see nor hear before. And it could well be that, lured by this strange power, I started to travel all over Japan visiting the depth of forests. ”

Shikama’s work has been exhibited internationally in Japan, Europe, and the U.S., and is held in the permanent collections of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (Paris), Museet for Fotokunst Brandts (Odense, Denmark), and the Museum of Photographic Arts (San Diego). He currently lives and works in Tokyo.

A few of my favorites from his Silent Respiration of Forests series include :


Tsukiyodaira 1,Takeshi Shikama, 2010,Platinum/Palladium on Japanese Gampi Paper

027 MtUshigata4

Mt Ushigata 4,Takeshi Shikama, 2010,Platinum/Palladium on Japanese Gampi Paper


Masutomi valley 31,Takeshi Shikama, 2008,Platinum/Palladium on Japanese Gampi Paper

and from his Urban Forest Series

Central Park 14,Takeshi Shikama, 2010,Platinum/Palladium on Japanese Gampi Paper


Central Park 18,Takeshi Shikama, 2010,Platinum/Palladium on Japanese Gampi Paper


Central Park 3,Takeshi Shikama, 2010,Platinum/Palladium on Japanese Gampi Paper

Further examples of his work can be found at http://www.shikamaphoto.com/

6 Responses to “Takeshi Shikama- Platinum Printer (Upcoming Event)”

  1. Oystein Lystad Says:

    Absolutely wonderful !

  2. simon0252 Says:

    A remarkable photographer, the prints look superb on the Gampi paper.

  3. rfotofolio Says:

    Outstanding work . Thank you for sharing .

  4. Bishop Says:

    Beautiful, beautiful images. Thank you for the introduction to Takeshi’s work. I hope to see it in person one day.

    Best regards — Bishop

  5. Excellent entry. Thank you. I am interested in buying a press with lighting as the one that appears in his article. Podria to give me references?? Thank you very much.

  6. jtjphelan Says:

    Really beautiful prints. What mill in Japan is the paper from?

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