Deciphering aspects of Japanese Zen aesthetics in relation to photography

Ho, D 2018, Deciphering aspects of Japanese Zen aesthetics in relation to photography, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Art, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

Title Deciphering aspects of Japanese Zen aesthetics in relation to photography
Author(s) Ho, D
Year 2018
Abstract This practice-led research investigates aspects of Japanese Zen aesthetics in relation to photography.

The nature of Japanese Zen aesthetics lies in its elusive and ambiguous character, which can result in not only diverse interpretations, but also miscomprehension. The aim of this research is to decipher abstract notions of Zen aesthetics and to consider how they can be understood from a Western photographic point of view. This research includes an investigation of wabi sabi,mono no awareand the spatial concept of ma. These Zen aesthetic concepts are compared to specific Western photographic concepts expounded by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Roland Barthes, Walter Benjamin, Susan Sontag and John Szarkowski.

This research also establishes correlations between Japanese Zen aesthetics and key photographic concepts of time and space, transience and transcendence, absence and presence. Landscape emerged as an appropriate subject matter in this investigation, as it encapsulates the cycle of change in nature. As a result, landscape’s importance and significance as a photographic subject matter was revealed through the representation of nature’s transience and impermanence, which is so inherent to Japanese Zen aesthetics.

The final outcome of this research is an installation of seven black-and-white photographic prints that encapsulates the commonalities identified between Japanese Zen aesthetics and photography. This project uses photography to reveal abstract notions of Zen aesthetics through depicting various representations of landscapes in Taiwan and New Zealand.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Art
Subjects Fine Arts (incl. Sculpture and Painting)
Lens-based Practice
Art Theory
Keyword(s) Photography
Japanese Zen Aesthetics
Wabi Sabi
Mono No Aware
Ma
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Created: Mon, 28 May 2018, 11:02:16 EST by Denise Paciocco
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