Shikawatari (Deer Crossing” is Chieko Shiraishi’s long-awaited new work, released five years after her photobook Shimagake. In this black-and-white work, Shiraishi presents a series of poetic images taken in wintry Dōtō in Eastern Hokkaido. The central theme is a herd of deer that Shiraishi encountered while travelling; the shy animals wander the snowy landscapes, across frozen lakes and barren forests. Shiraishi keeps her distance to the animals. In some photos, they let her come near, but they always keep a watchful eye on her. She encounters other animals as well – large birds, foxes – and wide, clear landscape shots give us a sense of the surroundings. Shiraishi’s series masterfully creates a sense of wonder, as if one is at the doors to a world of magic realism, as if the deer have decided to permit us access to an otherwise secret part of the natural world.
“While travelling through the wilderness in Dōtō, I encountered a herd of deer crossing the frozen lake in a row, silently. While gazing at the herd, I found a providential, beautiful law of nature, and I felt as though I had witnessed something sacred which is a part of nature. The wilderness of “Dōtō” provides a feeling of oneness with the majestic natural world that I had never before experienced.” - Chieko Shiraishi