Martina Shenal Martina Shenal



Fire mountain
Taller than I am
Hot grass


Vast green and
Soon to be pierced
Targets placed

- Takaha Shugyo (1930- )

I’m drawn to the multiple interpretations implicit in each haiku. As a juxtaposition of images or ideas, this form of Japanese poetry echoes the inherent dualities at play when deciphering photographic images–what is literally inside the frame vs. a fleeting feeling that its meaning resides elsewhere.

These inscriptions in stone appear at the summit of a 580 meter dormant volcano in the Izu Peninsula on the southeastern coast of Japan. As a shrine and popular pilgrimage site, Mt. Omuro harbors a lush, green archery field inside a dormant volcano. On the second Sunday each February, the interior and exterior grass is set ablaze, an occurrence that has taken place every year for the past eight hundred years.

Produced on a series of islands over a ten year span, Borrowed Views and Secondary Nature coalesced during a year-long sabbatical based in Fujisawa, Japan. A subset of the series focuses on Mt. Omuro. The adaptation of this volcano into a pilgrimage site mirrors the historic 53 Stations of the Tokaido, which passed through this area of the Izu Peninsula south of Edo (Tokyo).