We remain convinced that the best pathway for budding photographers to get noted is to settle on an original subject matter and simply pursue it over time. In Anders Edström’s case it took 23 years. Shiotani documents the life and times of Edström’s wife’s family and the small village of Shiotani, which is twenty-nine miles away from the outskirts of Kyoto. Edström made his first visit there in 1993 and has continued to do so intermittently.
Shiotani is comprised of only forty-seven inhabitants and most of the people who live there still farm traditionally, harvesting rice, tea and mushrooms. The first pictures he took there were no more than a record of his trip. It only became an artistic project fifteen years later in the Christmas of 2008 when he made up a photo album for his wife’s grandmother.
Opening with rural vistas where houses and their inhabitants make only occasional interventions on the landscape, the book goes on to focus on the family’s day to day activities. Edström brings the viewer on family trips, recording the train rides, car parks and lunch tables with as much care as he records the mountains and the details of the landscape around them.
From late nights drinking, to the passing of time and the losses that accompany it, the focus of his photography remains on his extended family. Edström and his camera bear witness to the passing of both of his wife’s grandparents, and the rituals that accompany death in the rural community.
An eight-hour long narrative film created with his long-time collaborator C.W. Winter, who has also contributed an essay to the book, won a Golden Bear at the Berlin International Film Festival and is set for release this autumn, also.