Masashi Mihotani

Searching for insects

In this series, I photograph things spotted in the everyday urban environment in which I live. The cities where we make our homes are the cumulative physical reflection of what people in the past have contemplated amid their own daily lives—things like convenience, efficiency, and appearance—and imagined in their minds, and it strikes me that this could be described as a kind of artificial “nature” which for us, has certainty and order.

The photographs in this series are acts of peering into this “nature” of ours from the perspective of the other, and the glimpses of “mystery” in habitats brimming with diverse designs and details that become visible through the lens when we do this, is similar, I think, to observing real nature from the outside through a microscope or telescope.

The title was chosen for its personal resonance, in that I sense in this series of photographic acts an intimate connection with my childhood bug-catching: the series of acts by which a child—filters of commonsense and convention still only half-formed, a brand-new almost-empty vessel—perceives something “mysterious,” is attracted to it, picks it up, observes and perhaps shares it, and through all this, interprets it.

The myriad colors and forms of creatures successively seared thus on my memory have, as formative visual experiences, become imprints of a sort, cohabiting with the sight I employ to gaze on the landscape now.