These pictures are part of a series called “Blast” taken by Japanese photographer Naoya Hatakeyama, who used remote-control cameras to capture the drama and destruction of Japan's limestone blasting operations from point-blank range.
Hatakeyama grew up on the northeast coast of Japan, an area rich in limestone, and the quarries and factories associated with limestone processing played a key role in the artist’s understanding of the world. His father worked for a time in a cement factory, and would often take him fishing at a port where quarried limestone was loaded onto ships. After his graduate studies Hatakeyama began photographing these quarries and factories. Intrigued by the daily blasts to free limestone from cliffs, he set out to capture these dramatic explosions in “Blast”, a series he began in 1995.
Instead of using a telephoto lens, which would have offered a remote perspective at a safe distance, he chose a motor-driven Nikon 5 and worked with engineers to determine exactly how close he could place his camera to the explosion without its being hit. Hatakeyama was impressed by the engineers’ ability to predict how the rock would break.
“From having worked with the rock for so many years, they had gained a vision that I could never imagine,” he said. “One could say that they were in dialogue with nature in the form of the rocks.”
“Blast” is one of Hatakeyama’s best-known series and it has been frequently exhibited in museum exhibitions worldwide.
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