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Kenro Izu: Sacred Places features over 50 black-and-white photographs of spiritual landmarks located in Asia, the Pacific Islands, the Middle East, and Europe. Renowned for his stunningly beautiful photographs of the ancient temples in Angkor, Cambodia, Japanese-born artist Kenro Izu has traveled extensively since 1979, capturing images of religious sites and monuments across the world. A number of these sites have never been photographed before, while others are endangered from neglect, environmental challenges, or overexposure to human contact. Much more than merely documentary in nature, Izu’s photographs convey the spiritual essence of these sites that have resonated over millennia with peoples of many faiths.
In addition to images of familiar sites such as the pyramids of Giza in Egypt and the stone statues on Easter Island, the exhibition also includes photographs of less well known sacred places in Syria, Jordan, Scotland, and New Mexico. A practicing Buddhist, Izu made captivating images of Buddhist and Hindu sites in India, the Himalayas, Cambodia, Burma, Indonesia, Thailand, and China, which comprise the majority of images in this exhibition. “The important thing is the spirituality of these monuments,” he once told an interviewer. “The building has to be there to photograph but the atmosphere is what I’m interested in. The building is a representation of that spiritual side.”
Kenro Izu: Sacred Places was organized and is circulated by the Peabody Essex Museum, Salem, Massachusetts. All photographs are lent by The Lane Collection, courtesy of the Peabody Essex Museum.
Kenro Izu, Borobudur, Java, 1996. Platinum palladium print on watercolor paper. © Kenro Izu. Courtesy of the Howard Greenberg Gallery