I first came across John Davies when my tutor mentioned his work in his feedback on my Square Mile assignment. I had taken a couple of industrial landscape images in my consideration of lines for EYV Exercise 1.3 and my tutor said that the high viewpoint reminded him of the work of John Davies. I had a look at some of Davis’s images and liked their sense of depth and space. My assignment images had been taken with a long lens, my favourite lens at the time, and they were rather ‘squashed’ as a consequence. Davis’s images encouraged me to appreciate a wider viewpoint, and to no longer rely on my telephoto lenses.
However, I now consider John Davies’s image in terms of their creative challenge to convention. At the link below, I was interested in Davies’ comment:
‘…I decided to make an additional set of work centred on Mount Fuji … as a backdrop to the industrial and urban reality of the modern Japanese landscape’.
Mount Fuji as a backdrop is certainly unconventional.
Davis’s images show industrial landscapes and busy streets against the traditional backdrop of the familiar Mount Fuji. His ‘relegation’ of this ‘national symbol of Japan’ forces the viewer to a different understanding of the reality of the city. Davis challenges the convention that emphasises the beauty of the landscape by presenting the volcano surrounded by cherry blossom. Perhaps Davis’s images also emphasise the beauty of the natural landscape by contrasting it with the harshness and ugliness of industry, but it makes a very different statement. Davies describes the city as ‘one of the most concentrated industrial urbanised areas I have seen’ and his images reflect his desire to understand the on-going changes in the built environment.
Davies, J. (1976) John Davies Shizuoka prefecture text. Available at: http://www.johndavies.uk.com/fuji%20text.htm(Accessed: 23 February 2017).
See my post on Chris Steele Perkins who photographed Mount Fuji as ‘incidental’ to scenes of the everyday life of the city.