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Art Exhibit is Nod to Famed Author and Photographer

Submitted by on September 6, 2017 – 6:55 pm

Kurita’s 16×30 “Buds of Spring” Sudbury, MA 2016, is an albumen print created from Talbotype paper negatives. This is an early photographic process that involves using paper coated with silver iodide.  Talbotype is also known as calotype which has Greek origins meaning “beautiful impression”.

What if naturalist and author Henry David Thoreau had been a photographer?

The answer to that question is the focus of an exhibit at Northern Essex Community College.

To commemorate the 200th anniversary of Thoreau’s birth, Japanese-born, fine art photographer Koichiro Kurita, tries to answer that question with an exhibit titled “Beyond Spheres”. The large format exhibit runs from Saturday, Sept. 16, through Saturday, Oct. 28, at NECC’s Linda Hummel-Shea Artspace in the Harold Bentley Library on the Haverhill campus, 100 Elliott St.

An opening reception and talk will be held Thursday, Sept. 28, from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the ArtSpace.

The 30 pieces on exhibit are a homage of sorts to Kurita’s two most influential mentors – Thoreau and photography pioneer Henry Fox Talbot. Kurita has created handmade photography with the same depth of thought and reflection on man’s coexistence with nature as Thoreau.

“Beyond Spheres is an address of gratitude to my two mentors whom I never met,” he said. “Beyond Spheres is about my visual journey to understand Thoreau’s perception as I trace the writer’s footsteps through New England and the goal is for these photographs to interpret the essence of Thoreau’s philosophy and love of nature through the medium of photography.”

Kurita launched the Beyond Spheres project in 2010. He sees it as a logical extension of his continuing search for an answer to the question “What if Thoreau had been a photographer? The aim of this project was, and is, to give pictorial form to Thoreau’s ideas and writings by employing the methods used by his contemporaries

From October 2015 through 2016 Kurita explored remote and hidden sites along the Ipswich, Concord, Assabet, Sudbury and Merrimack Rivers, retracing portions of the 1839 journey chronicled in Thoreau’s book “A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers.” As many of the shooting locations were accessible only by canoe, this new series of photographs of terrain less traveled yielded images of exceptional beauty.

Born in Ashiya City, Japan, Kurita studied perceptual psychology in college where he also learned to use a camera. Inspired by Thoreau after reading “Walden”, he gave up his career as a commercial photographer to work on nature landscapes. Over the last 30 years he has exhibited internationally and been collected by major museums including the Museum of Fine Arts/Boston, the Museum of fine Arts/Houston, Bibliotheque Nationale de France, and the Tokyo Fuji Art Museum to name a few.

The exhibit is sponsored by the NECC Art Department & the NECC Foundation.

For additional information contact Marc Mannheimer at