Photographer Nao Tsuda Captures Breathtaking Landscapes at the Edge of the Earth
Japanese photographer Nao Tsuda travels to the ends of the earth, quite literally, in search of the places where nature and civilization collide. He captures these unique landscapes in striking compositions that explore stillness and spirituality through haunting images of nearly indeterminable time or place.
The photographer’s practice has taken him to some of the most remote corners of the planet. Often traveling on foot, he has trekked the rugged northern parts of Scandinavia and the Himalayan foothills of Bhutan. In his “Reborn” series, published as a suite of 18 platinum prints by Japanese luxury photo publisher amanasalto, Tsuda visits the kingdom of Bhutan to explore a people with a reverence for nature in even the harshest environments.
“People in Bhutan not only respect the Buddhist deities but also the mother nature, so they don’t build tunnels in mountains; every day they go back and forth…by following the landform,” said Tsuda, describing his interest in the landlocked nation. “That is probably why time seems to pass by slowly and people have religious faith as deep as their valleys.”
Tsuda’s respect for the Bhutanese people’s faith is reflected in the title of the series, which references the Buddhist belief in reincarnation. While this interest in the local culture is evident in Tsuda’s work, his photographs actually feature very few people. In fact, it is the monuments that these people create—even in the most unlikely and inhospitable of circumstances—that seem of greatest interest to the photographer. With their misty atmosphere captured in beautiful grayscale, these images seem to capture a world suspended between past and present. Looking at the photographs feels like stepping back into a strange and unknown history—into mythical territory, even.
“We have a history of defining the world’s visible but not yet [its] invisible,” Tsuda says of photography. With this body of work, the intrepid photographer seems to tap into that invisible world, conjuring a spiritual realm with depth far beyond what the eye can see.