Photographer Airi Katsuta has been mentioned in a few of my previous blogs. I first met her at the 2013 Phoenix Matsuri Festival. She was displaying her 1,000 origami cranes that she had made as part of her fundraising effort to travel to Japan as a volunteer to help rebuild the tsunami ravaged village of Ishinomaki. Her exhibit also included images she had taken while on that mission. Since that chance meeting at the Festival, I have been sure to attend her other exhibits over the course of the year.
Last night I attended the opening reception for her new show “Voyages” at the Method Art Gallery in Scottsdale. The show is photographs that she took while on traveling on the Peace Boat last year.
The Peace Boat starts from Japan and tours several destinations in the Southern Hemisphere on a 105 day cruise. But the Boat is not a typical sightseeing cruise. The group that Airi and her sister, Riho, were with are on a more purposeful mission, which is said best in the Peace Boat’s own words: “Peace Boat is a Japan-based international non-governmental and non-profit organization that works to promote peace, human rights, equal and sustainable development and respect for the environment.”
Riho served as a translator on the ship. Airi’s job was to report and photograph the journey. The show last night featured 25 of her best images, one from each location she visited.
I had the opportunity to visit with the sisters and find out a little more about their experiences. Both sisters mentioned that the Easter Islands was their favorite location. They were impressed with the statues, as anyone would be, and the skill and hard work it must have taken to create them. The girls were less impressed with my theory about how aliens had probably built them I found out Airi had also seen the movie “Rapa Nui”. We both agreed it was interesting to watch, but in the end a really bad movie. One of those movies that came on late at night on Starz that one starts to watch, keeps watching hoping it will get better and fascinated that it doesn’t, and when it is finished one is overcome with regret for the time spent watching.
Airi took over 30,000 photographs. I can only imagine the amount of time and effort that went into the culling and editing of that many images.
Many times such exhibitions of travel seem to drone on in the sameness of the images. Not so with Airi’s exhibition. Each photograph is different in composition, subject matter, feeling and creativity. It is a wonderful documentation of the lands they visited while on the Peace Boat.
Airi is a very talented young photographer. She is going to go on another Peace Boat adventure in the near future. I look forward to the photographs and stories from that adventure as well.
The exhibit “Voyage” is up at the Method Art Gallery through October 3rd.
Sister Riho and guest discuss the finer points of one of the images.
Notice the map in the middle? Each photograph had one of those tiny maps with a red dot indicating the location where the image was taken. (great for a geography challenged person like myself)
The Hello Kitty photograph was taken in Japan. She looks as though she is ready for the adventure. This is one of Airi’s favorites.
Previous blogs featuring Airi