消体 Shotai: You Cannot Divide Nature

Chikuhō no kodomotachi (Chikuho’s Children) by Ken Domon
Hatsumi Sensei writes that sensing the true nature of things (消体 shotai) like budo and nature, shows that they are connected and cannot be divided. He explains this by way of photography:
"The mon 門 (gate), or shumon 宗門(religion), and bumon 武門(martial), are captured beautifully by the shutter of the famous cameraman Ken Domon."
Ken Domon, in advocating realism, said: "Realistic photography in the true sense brings us directly to reality. Photographic expression is an attempt at a truthful presentation of reality — in other words, it is a crystallisation of man's anger, his happiness and his sadness."

Domon famously defined his goal as a photographer as "the direct connection between camera and motif."

Domon's method of photographing temples was to stay at the location for some time before taking the first photo. He would then begin photographing based not on a systematic, scholarly approach to the subject, but based on how his feelings towards the subjects moved him to record them.

Profile of Ken Domon (土門 拳, Domon Ken, 25 October 1909 – 15 September 1990):
One of the most renowned Japanese photographers of the twentieth century. He is most celebrated as a photojournalist, though he may have been most prolific as a photographer of Buddhist temples and statuary.

Born in Sakata City, Yamagata Prefecture, in 1935 Domon joined Nihon Kobo, an organization that produced news photographs. He later worked as an independent photojournalist recording the tremendous changes taking place in Japan until he was stricken by cerebral thrombosis in 1979. During his career he produced many photographic collections including Bunraku (1972), Hiroshima (1958), Fubo (1953) and Koji Junrei (five volumes, 1963-75). Reflecting on the inadvertent role he played during WWII producing propaganda photographs, he became a main proponent of the postwar photographic realism movement that focused on society and the lives of ordinary people, and his powerful works influenced many amateur photographers of the age. Declaring his love of Japan and the Japanese people, Domon changed his focus and attempted to capture the essence of his photographic subjects. The photographs he took of Buddhist images both prior to and during WWII remain among the most highly acclaimed of his works and are thought to exemplify his photographic aesthetic. Before his death in 1990, Domon donated the entire body of his works to the city of his birth, and in 1983, the city of Sakata honored him by opening the Ken Domon Memorial Photographic Museum.

I hope you can find inspiration in photography and art as well as budo!

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