Setting Stones – Karesansui by American Photographer Bob Cornelis
It seems like lately I’ve been drawn to projects that conceptually convey a strong message, but visually are often abstract and understated. Take for example this photographic series by Bob Cornelis titled ‘Karesansui’, which is the Japanese word for a rock garden or zen garden. Cornelis has abstracted the idea of the zen garden using simple shapes, arranged harmoniously with each other and their surroundings.
Bob was inspired when reading an early text on Japanese gardening where “creating a garden” is referred to as “setting stones”, so this is exactly what he did with a set of simple geometric objects. He has positioned them relative to light, horizon lines and viewer perspective.
I like the fact that although the objects are geometric and rigid, the process he’s used to develop the photos in a hand-made way has taken the edge off of them and relates back to the natural entity of a garden. The flow of emulsion that takes place during the transfer can also be seen in the final photos, offering a sense of movement which is similar to the raking of gravel in a zen garden. Overall a nice series that makes you contemplate and hone in to a quiet place.