Japanese Archery (Kyudo)
In 1948 German philosopher Eugen Herrigel published “Zen in the Art of Archery.” A copy was given to Henri Cartier-Bresson by painter George Braque. The book became a veritable handbook for Cartier-Bresson and subsequent generations of photographers who aspired to find deeper meaning in an art that was considered second rate next to painting or drawings. Though I wondered, how many photographers have actually seen Kyudo in person? I had not.
This body of work steps inside the archers space to reveal the experience of “aiming at one’s self.” In the end Herrigel concludes that, “He must become a pupil again, a beginner; conquer the last and steepest stretch of the way and undergo new transformations.”
Yet the book contains almost no photographs and the experience of Kyudo remains distant. Cartier-Bresson eventually went to Japan and experienced the craft first hand. This project looks to connect the visual and philosophical practices into a unified experience.