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Tea Houses

15 images (2012 to present)


Japanese teahouses are places to explore time and experience how malleable time really is. When sitting quietly in a teahouse, time begins to slow down. With the right focus of attention time can also expand. 


There is the Japanese expression nakaima(中今). Nakaima refers to being fully present in the Now. This is at the heart of the tea experience, as well as all the other Japanese arts. From this awareness of being fully in the present various dimensions of time can be encountered. In the art of sword fighting one can even step one moment into the future to anticipate the opponent's movement. In the nakaima mind set, the past merges into the present, and the future comes closer.


These images were inspired by one tea ceremony experience I had with the fifteenth generation ceramic artist Kichizaemon Raku. In the tearoom he designed at the Sagawa Museum near Kyoto he wanted to express the essence of tea in the 21st century. The bowl he served tea in was a museum masterpiece made by one of his early ancestors hundreds of years ago. Putting that bowl to the lips and taking a sip, I experienced time expanding back more than hundreds of years, even tens of thousands of years. For a brief moment I found myself in a cave where human beings had first touched and molded clay into bowls. It was here that the art of tea first started I felt. This experience led me to understand the relationship of tea and time.


These images are from an ongoing series to photograph historical teahouses with my large wooden camera. The images explore the ambience of Japanese teahouses as spaces to experie the nature of time. 


Edition of 09

Image size 10.24" x 10.24" (260 x260mm), 

Paper size 13" x 12.5"  (330 x 320mm)

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