Yu Yamauchi

I lived in a hut near the summit of Mt Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, for five months straight, four years in a row, for a total of 600 days. Each morning, I photographed the dawn from the same spot, chasing the ever-changing drama that unfolded before my eyes.

Ten thousand feet above sea level, this place is literally above the clouds, far from the ground where most of us live our daily lives. It is also the threshold between Earth and outer space. Being there reminds me of the simple fact that we live on a planet within an infinite universe.

Constantly shifting, the clouds look like a membrane encapsulating the Earth. When the Sun rises behind a cloud-forming horizon, the world that was painted in blue just a moment before suddenly looks completely different. I witnessed this magical transformation many times.

Intensely red and increasingly bright, the Sun soon radiates dazzling lights. Everything starts to move where its rays reach: the air warms, the wind shifts, the clouds transform, and the songs of birds are vaguely heard underneath. I am clearly awakened and so is the space around me. At such a moment I wonder, “What is light? Is it manifested by love?”

Perhaps it is all about a breath of the universe, far beyond our life and death — or even rotation of the Earth. No matter how complicated society gets or how fast times change, we are part of a vast unknown terrain that creates this rhythm. Thinking this way, it seems that our existence itself is also a vast unknown terrain.

For me, this work offers a simple reminder:
We are present in the here and now. •