In the Land of the Rising Sun, the composition of a garden is raised to the rank of art. Every tree, stone and patch of moss is meticulously placed in accordance with symbolic and aesthetic codes. This tamed yet soothing and mesmerising nature drew photographer Letizia Le Fur’s eye and her photographic paintbrush (@letizialefur). Flying to Japan for the first time thanks to a magazine commission, Letizia was very impressed by the aura of the places she visited. She came back with a series of oneiric images that take us on a great sensory journey. A palette of luminous colours and a captivating sense of composition serve as a visual winter tale.
During her stay, Letizia discovered Kyoto, the former imperial capital, surrounded by mountains and close to the Biwa lake, the largest in the country. A vibrant modern city, Kyoto is home to numerous temples and gardens classified by the Unesco. It preserves the bridge between two faces of Japan, innovation and tradition. The renowned garden of Murin-An is a perfect example of the re-creation of a countryside landscape, with different layers of reading. Letizia adds her own with these portraits of nature, depicting an atmosphere as palpable as it is unreal.
The frontier between reality and fiction is continuously questioned, in movement. And moving, giving the viewer food for thought. Bouquets of pine trees in various earthy tones seem to have lives of their own; some are floating like clouds, others are either threatening, protective, or leading along a dreamlike path. Shadows converse with colours, the thin fabric of a curtain hints a poetic dawn, silhouettes of leaves draw a calligraphy on a wall, a ray of light paving a way to a mysterious room...
The border between inside and outside is permeable. Human-made elements echo the surrounding flora. Nature invites itself indoors through paintings, outlines and light. Large windows give the spectacle of a mountainous landscape, calling the traveller to go explore.
All the places seem inhabited, even when deprived of human presence. They have a soul, infused with traditions and ancestral rituals, welcoming the neophyte to soak up the spirit and serenity. But when Letizia introduces human subjects in her framing, they blend into the scenery, in a chromatic harmony. A maiko, the apprentice of a geiko (the term for a geisha in Kyoto), in her colourful kimono; passengers on the way to Naoshima, an island home to various museums and works of art... bringing the viewer in their wake.
Letizia’s photographs also have this cinematographic influence and it is easy to envision each image as a shot from a splendid yet intimist movie. What would happen in the next moment? Each frame seems full of secrets, an invitation to a faraway and inner journey. She gives plenty to hypnotise, and yet leaves just enough to the imagination to give us the urge to go see for ourselves. The fantasy to go inside the picture to discover another dimension; or to go to Japan and immerse oneself in a new and ancient world...
Letizia Le Fur
© Letizia Le Fur
Letizia Le Fur is a French photographer. She first trained as a painter then turned to photography, graduating from the Beaux-Arts. She creates « visual poems » drawing on her rich personal technique and sensitivity. In the last 20 years she has worked with the press and for advertising. Winner of the Leica/Alpine contest in 2018, she has exposed her work on various occasions. Her latest series ‘The wealth of continents and the providence of men on the run’, will soon be published as a monograph.