Yes I know, it starts to sound like the beginning of a bad habit. Still, I am happy to announce availability of my third book. The book has the title “Path to the Far North” and is sub-titled “A photographic conversation with Bashō”. This needs explaining…
The works of the famous haiku poet Matsuo Bashō have been enchanting me for a long time. Especially his travel diary oku no hosomichi (The Narrow Road to the Far North) has been my companion for many years. The character 奥 (oku, the far north, interior of Japan) can also mean inner feelings and one’s own heart. So there is an association with “path to the heart” in the title of Bashō’s text. About these two aspects of the Bashō book, as a trip to the north and to one’s inner core, I wanted to make a photography project.
Finally, in autumn 2015, I went far up to the North of Finland, to Lapland. There, in the area around Lake Inari and then at the Isokuru ravine at Pyhä the photos for the book were taken. But up there in the empty wilderness of the North I always felt that also an inner dialog is fostered or even enforced. The Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything seems unavoidable in this landscape. Now, of course, we all know that the answer to the Ultimate Question is 42, but not being much of a mathematician myself I keep looking for a less encrypted answer. Except, that there is probably not one answer but many. One for each of us.
When Bashō wrote his book, he created a new art form, haibun, the blending of prose and haiku poems. In photography, I have since long defended that the picture itself should be the message and even titles to a picture are problematic. However, my own “Path to the Far North” has, I realize, become a single poem, where text and pictures amalgamate. As this has taken me right to the edge of my own comfort zone (and sometimes over it) I kept revising the book since late in 2015. As I release it now to the public it is not with the desire to provide ready-made answers, but rather to encourage the reader to take the journey to his or her own heart.
The book is hardcover A4 size, has 68 pages and all texts are in English, of course (for Bashō’s poems the Japanese original version is provided, too). It can be ordered online here: https://www.peecho.com/print/en/324698. It costs 29,90 € + shipping and, again, shipping is world-wide.