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Richard Murai
Richard Murai
Richard Murai

Richard Murai

Country: United States
Birth: 1952

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes." Marcel Proust, 1923, La Prisonierre

The world's sacred sites are visually rich and historically significant and provide sanctuary for spiritual reflection and creative exploration and discovery. They're striking archeological sites but first and foremost, they serve as vital and revered centers of pilgrimage, prayer and meditation. These images are excerpts of my visits to these sacred spaces and are evidence of an ongoing journey that examines intense spiritual devotion and religious fervor, past and present, within unique and distinctive cultures. They are multi-dimensional and compelling for both the photographer and the viewer and document golden ages of past millennia and cultures seeking to reconcile ancient traditions with conflicting modern values. Devotees seek serenity and escape from centuries of conquest and political upheaval, or the effects of poverty, global climate change and modernization.

As we confront a perplexing, irrational and precarious world situation ongoing geo-political unrest and violence has caused fractious dissension and a difficult emotional time for all. Reluctance to accept diverse cultural, political, religious attitudes both here and abroad adds to the fear, cynicism and confusion. Becoming sensitive to unfamiliar cultures can quell much of this anxiety and may encourage tolerance and compassion.

After transitioning from thirty-five rewarding years in photographic education, Richard lives in Monterey, CA, and continues to passionately pursue his creative artmaking. His ongoing fascination with world religion and culture has generated repeated visits to locations within India, Asia, South America, the Middle East, Russia and Europe.

His work has been exhibited widely, has garnered awards from All About Photo, Center for Photographic Art, Spider Awards, and Travel Photographer of the Year, and have been featured in respected publications including B&W Magazine, Silver Shots International, Shots, Photographer's Forum and multiple issues of Lenswork print and special editions. His photographs are included in various private and corporate collections and is represented by the Weston Gallery, Carmel, CA
 

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Richard Le Manz
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Shoji Ueda
Japan
1913 | † 2000
Shoji Ueda was a photographer of Tottori, Japan, who combined surrealist compositional elements with realistic depiction. Most of the work for which Ueda is widely known was photographed within a strip of about 350 km running from Igumi (on the border of Tottori and Hyogo) to Hagi (Yamaguchi). Ueda was born on 27 March 1913 in Sakai (now Sakaiminato), Tottori. His father was a manufacturer and seller of geta; Shoji was the only child who survived infancy. The boy received a camera from his father in 1930 and quickly became very involved in photography, submitting his photographs to magazines; his photograph Child on the Beach, Hama no kodomo) appeared in the December issue of Camera. In 1930 Ueda formed the photographic group Chugoku Shashinka Shudan with Ryosuke Ishizu, Kunio Masaoka, and Akira Nomura; from 1932 till 1937 the group exhibited its works four times at Konishiroku Hall in Nihonbashi, Tokyo. Ueda studied at the Oriental School of Photography in Tokyo in 1932 and returned to Sakai, opening a studio, Ueda Shashinjo, when only nineteen. Ueda married in 1935, and his wife helped him to run his photographic studio. His marriage was a happy one; his wife and their three children are recurring models in his works. Ueda was active as an amateur as well as a professional photographer, participating in various groups. In 1941 Ueda gave up photography, not wanting to become a military photographer. (Toward the end of the war, he was forced to photograph the result of a fire.) He resumed shortly after the war, and in 1947 he joined the Tokyo-based group Ginryusha. Ueda found the sand dunes of Tottori excellent backdrops for single and group portraits, typically in square format and until relatively late all in black and white. In 1949, inspired by Kineo Kuwabara, then the editor of Camera, Ueda photographed the dunes with Ken Domon and Yoichi Midorikawa. Some of these have Domon as a model, far from his gruff image. The photographs were first published in the September and October 1949 issues of Camera and have been frequently anthologized. Ueda started photographing nudes on the dunes in 1951, and from 1970 he used them as the backdrop for fashion photography. The postwar concentration on realism led by Domon, followed by the rejection of realism led by Shomei Tomatsu, sidelined Ueda's cool vision. Ueda participated in "Japanese Photography" at the New York Museum of Modern Art in 1960 and had solo exhibitions in Japan, but had to wait till a 1974 retrospective held in the Nikon Salon in Tokyo and Osaka before his return to popularity. Ueda remained based in Tottori, opening a studio and camera shop in Yonago in 1965, and in 1972 moving to a new three-storey building in Yonago. The building served as a base for local photographic life. From 1975 until 1994, Ueda was a professor at Kyushu Sangyo University. Critical and popular recognition came from the mid seventies. A succession of book-length collections of new and old appeared. Ueda weathered the death in 1983 of his wife, and continued working well into the 1990s. He died of a heart attack on 4 July 2000. The Shoji Ueda Museum of Photography (Ueda Shoji Shashin Bijutsukan), devoted to his works, opened in Kishimoto (now Hoki, near Yonago) Tottori Prefecture in 1995. Source: Wikipedia
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