A trip through southern Japan and the islands of Kyushu and Okinawa are a reflection upon a culture that is highly technological but still deeply spiritual. In Japanese culture there are many popular ghost stories and tales of mountain spirits. Japan is an interesting country, modern and industrial in every way but temples and shrines form the centre of every community. Get out of the city and there are graveyards on every hillside or in the corner of seemingly every field, most are actively tended to as tradition dictates. Each rock or tree has it’s own shinto shrine and every house a place to give offerings to the ancestors.The Japanese do not let their dead go easily and the dead in their turn seem to wander.
As a photographer I try to condense a moment out of the continuum of experience. These moments are a meditation upon a time and a place. They try to embody the spirit of that place and my impressions of it in the time leading up to and in the actions of taking the shot. That moment if it is to be of interest must contain so much more than any single moment can, it must allude to the universal. These moments are isolated experiences within a larger context, moments of contemplation, reflection and holding space. The images serve to capture a thought and a memory, to distil it out of time and to fix it.
Philip Riley attended the Central St.Martins School of Art in London to study fine art painting and print-making in the mid-eighties and participated in the London’s vibrant art scene until he came to New York in the mid-nineties. While in London he exhibited in several important survey shows such as ‘Wonderful Life’ at the Lisson Gallery London, ‘The Institute of Cultural Anxiety’ at the ICA London and ‘Instructions’ at Gio Marconi in Milan, amongst others. His work has always been about the scientific explanation of life weighed against the spiritual and emotional experience of living. Philip currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Since 2010 he has owned and run a fine art printing studio where he makes digital prints and editions for galleries, museums and the international and local artistic community.
For other projects please see www.philipriley.com