human endeavour, photography, thoughts and ideas

Stephen Vaughan. A Catfish Sleeps.

Posted in Uncategorized by humanendeavour photography on March 18, 2011

In 18th century Japan, the belief emerged that the Shinto deity Kashima held a foundation stone (kamame-ishi) upon the head of a giant catfish (Namazu), thus protecting the population from the terrors of earthquake when the catfish stirred. Drawings of the Namazu showed it as an ominous threat before the great 1855 earthquake, but also as a source of redistributed wealth for post-catastrophe developers and craftsmen. The photographs in A Catfish Sleeps have been made with this metaphor in mind.

The images record a journey that corresponds with significant points on the tectonic map, where the Eurasian, Pacific, Philippine and Okhotsk plates meet in a complex subduction zone that moves beneath the landscape of Japan and the seismically threatened metropolis of Tokyo. The relatively new science of plate tectonics provides a heightened awareness of the dangers caused by movements in the earth’s crust. In Japan, the complexities of the underlying geology are apparent in the form of numerous active volcanoes and the ever-present threat of major earthquakes. Nevertheless, civilisation pushes forward relentlessly above the geology. Human efforts to mitigate disaster and to control the forces of earthquake, eruption and tsunami are evident. Yet nature in its rawest state remains a focus for pilgrimage, fear and spectacle.

Stephen Vaughan.









































































Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: