Where the Earth Meets the Sky


gI wondered about c the seduction of certain geographies that feel like home not by story or blood but merely by their forms and colors. How our perceptions, as someone once said, are our only internal map of the world, how there are places that claim you and places that warn you away. How you can fall in love with the light.h

- Ellen Meloy, The Anthropology of Turquoise


Before I jump into any philosophically charged, metaphor flooded artist statement, allow me to first run through the details of how I ended up here.

I was born in Yokohama, Japan. But, by the time I developed any conscious recognition of the world around me, my family had moved to Toronto, Canada. From there, we would spend the next ten years moving back and forth between North America and Japan. I eventually attended high school in Japan, but with an interest in space exploration, decided to put myself to test by studying aerospace engineering at a university in the U.S.

This was the pre-internet days, and selecting a university, or better yet, simply finding information, was a daunting task. Eventually, through a mix of random choices and simple fate, I ended up in Boulder, Colorado, attending the University of Colorado.

My only objective there was to study, and I expected nothing else from my college experience. Had I stayed true to that mission throughout my years in Colorado, what an opportunity I would have wasted! Fortunately, I quickly realized the fault of my plan and soon engaged myself in a broad array of experiences outside of the classroom.

Through all the gextracurricular activityh that I involved myself in, I became especially captivated by the landscape of the American West. And while I continued to pursue my studies with solid focus, I also found myself spending more and more time in the wilderness, exploring its infinite beauty. Of the many wild places I visited, it was the red rock desert of the Colorado Plateau that truly captured my heart, and I found myself returning many times, gradually developing a deep attachment to its desolate landscape.

Years crept by, and I soon reached that exit door called graduation, fortunate enough to arrive there with two job offers from NASA in Houston. But, by then my love for the desert landscape and photography had grown tremendously. After weeks of self-questioning and careful consideration, I made the decision to pursue what I knew would become the passion of my life.

For me, photography is not only a means of expression, but more, a vehicle for experience. Yes, I enjoy and love the outdoors for its simple pleasures. But, were it not for the sake of taking a picture, I probably would have never forced myself to do the many things that lay beyond the boundaries of a typical traveler. Many things, that have taken me to places and moments of the deepest and most profound beauty.

It was photography that drove me to there, like hiking up 2000 vertical feet through switchbacks and dropoffs under late afternoon light, knowing well that were I to stay and photograph the sunset, my return along the same path would be in complete darkness. Or, waking up long before sunrise, and in the leftover darkness of the previous night, hike in and take position on top of a boulder, only to quietly wait for just the right light.

With a keen awareness of my surroundings, I stood there and waited patiently. One by one, the stars fade as the sky slowly shifted from an infinite black to the deepest blue, never being able to tell when that change had taken place. Soon, the eastern horizon took on a red glow, and the space above it, now a transparent lavender. Surrounded by silence, the only sound that broke the stillness was my own breathing and the occasional wind that rushed through a distant valley. Finally, when that crimson sun cleared the horizon, the landscape jumped awake with energy, and I was drowning in an appreciation and proof of life. In that fleeting moment, all the Earthfs beauty seemed to explode before my eyes. The perfect harmony of landscape, color and light.

Thank you,
Arito



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