It’s frightening—
Engulfed by the avalanche, I snap a photo.
One shot doesn’t lie,
So where I go, neither can I.

Drifting in distant seas, alone—

Nowhere to escape!
No rescue!
Just put it out of mind—

It’s hard!

It’s scary!

I struggle, silent—
To give up in the waves means death.
Facing forward, determined—
I dive into the crashing waves!

No swimming lessons taught me
To follow all my senses and heart toward the light.

It’s what challenges are all about—
To feel alive, to feel life’s worth it.
Something to live for—

You’ll never forget, having learned it with your whole body,
But with your head, it quickly fades.
Ups and downs hinge on more than rote memory.
I want a record of my life soaked into my body!

Isn’t that more powerful?

A journey to learn myself

A journey is not about words, like “what are you going to try to change?” First and foremost, it’s about going somewhere.
Maybe talking is a journey too, but in any event, a journey is about heading out into nature and returning.
Whatever else is involved, the point is that you gradually see things you haven't before and accumulate new experiences.
Those experiences are created in various forms. If you have a hundred people, you get a hundred individual forms.
That's why it’s fun.

People may not shine together, but it's good that they’re so simple.
Regardless of whether we are in the virtual space of the city or wherever else, we live on the Earth.
For example, this spot originally may have been the sea, or a mountain, or a river.
Human beings are where we are today because we have distanced ourselves from the dangers of the Earth so we can live safely and comfortably, but there are a lot of things we forget by doing so.

So first of all, my intuition is to have time to be myself.
You see your heart when you are by yourself. What sort of being am I? For example, how well can I swim? How far I can swim out from the shore? I learn what my stature is. I do not believe that's something a person can teach you.
The quickest way to learn is to sense it from the natural world, as you are.
I have no desire to close my eyes and contemplate things when I'm in this city with all of its noises. Young and old people and alike should have more time to go to quiet places, relax, wonder about things, and nurture their minds’ eye.
It would be enough to sit and listen to the sound of the waves.

There are many things that we do not see as though we are seeing them, and many things in the real world that we cannot see.
They’re not things that you’ll see on a computer or in a bookstore. Rather, they are things out there in the world.
Because this involves putting yourself out there in the world, experiencing things, and making them a part of you, I think it’s very important.

Your frequency changes

It's the same whether I am here or in the ocean off Palau or Fiji. Eventually, we are all breathing the same air of this world and being pounded by driving rains.
Even so, if the location changes, then the things you pick up with your vision will likewise be different.
If you explore oceans that are not very popular, a world untouched by human ideas is teeming around you.
You go and realize for the first time that you this is what the Earth really looks like.

For example, after I've spent however many months in Fiji and then go walk the streets of Japan's cities, I sense that I have become a different person, so much so that I am invisible to other persons.
It feels as though I am a separate person transparent to these people walking about the streets. I don't mind it at all, this sense, shall we say, of being on a completely different frequency?
For about one week after coming back I enjoy walking around with that sensation.
That's why I think a journey means having yourself on a different frequency.

When you've been confined to a city for many years, your state of being worsens.
For that reason, when you finally feel like all of a sudden, you have to escape, you head out with an animalistic sensibility like a bird in flight.
You might say that someone working a regular 9–5 job at a company can't just go so easily, but if you decide to make the time for it you'll certainly find it. It's not an issue of distance or location.
The depths of what you will experience even a little bit down the road when you go to the place you have in mind are remarkably pure.
You'll certainly feel like you should have done this sooner and laugh.

Anyway, go to a place where there are as few people as possible. Being alone is better.
Go to a place that seems like it will suit you.
If you walk past somewhere but feel as if there was something there that was calling to you, go back and look again.
If you felt it a little bit, try moving your body around.
You might notice something with those actions.
You won't know if you don't try. I do it too—going because I don't know what’s there.
That’s the way with excitement and the anticipation.
Everyone always has a chance to transform themselves. You can get stuck on the frequency of the city here. You get carried away by it because everyone else is the same.

Vision and the brain, vision and the heart

When I'm swimming and taking photos, I first look at the waves with my eyes.
I concentrate on reading changes in the surface of the waters far off the coast.
The water eventually blocks out the sky, rises up in turn, and then comes crashing down.
All this and everything you must do happen instantly in this towering pile.
That's scary, isn’t it!
Because the information is coming in through your eyes, the place where it goes is not your head but rather your heart.
I think that the people of today get tangled up because after they put something in their heads they take it out and send it back to their hearts.

When I take a photo, while I'm not looking through the finder that photo also reflects the person to a scary degree.
I end up trying to create something that functions like a documentary.
Anyway, taking photos without looking is difficult. You just have to look with both eyes.
But it's already too late once it's gotten into your head. The wave will have already gone by.
So, your index finger on the shutter button and your heart are connected, perhaps. We see things with our eyes and they end up connecting after the information gets into our heads, but I try to not let the signal move up my spine and enter my brain.
If you don't click the shutter at the moment you sense something, the wave will already have gone, and so the photo will not reflect its true appearance.
I suppose my position is wanting to leave something pure on film--the feeling of having seen something that made me think "yeah!" and the straight impulse behind it, having eliminated all manner of things like self-awareness.

At photography schools, they talk about composition and exposure time and all that, but I believe photographs are much freer. It's not like making taiyaki from a mold, where everyone wants their pastry to look the same. That wouldn't be interesting at all.
Things can't be expressed in a photo without having something well up inside you that simply makes you want to go take in the first place. That’s the real thrill of doing photography.
It has a really liberating element, and also a frightening one. That's what makes it uncanny.
You see something in that instant, but there are elements that are too fast to be seen.
That's why your senses are all that matters.

Thoughts about Luxurearth

To put it very simply, the source for what is going to make people really shine out as themselves is the same for everyone: this Earth. It makes what's beautiful beautiful, and we are all grateful for it.
The Earth holds a variety of teachings for us. The rain, the ground, the wind.
You sense things—a scent being carried on the wind, or today, the fragrance of an ocean current.
Without the Earth and all it contains, including these sensual things, we would not be here. We are all children of the sea. I do believe that.

In that sense, I think Luxurearth is trying to tell us that there are true teachings within this earth.
Only the Earth contains this richness and beauty.
For example, we could say we're going to Mars tomorrow and just go, but it would be waste, because there is still so much we have not seen on this Earth.
There are beautiful worlds to be found in the sea and the mountains and the rivers. The ocean is all connected, so it’s not really even like we have to go to foreign countries.
Some people may insist on eating tuna from some specific country, but really, the sea is all the same.

A politician who removes his necktie and jumps naked into the sea naturally is going to react like anyone and say, "Yikes, this is cold!"
The Earth is harsh. Scary.
But the Earth doesn't try to do anything to people, or try to kill them. It isn’t thinking like that.
It is an amazing place, where we can live with unrestrained beauty that is simple and unaltered.

We all need to make a thorough study of the Earth. This is a very simple thing.
It's scary, and it's strong, so we will join hands.
When you have gone swimming naked, you have no straws at which to grasp and at the moment when you think, "Don't die from this," you really do not think of trying to do anything unnecessary.
Originally, to go to the depths of the Earth is to go with the spirit of dying.
You get rid of today's everyday things, and your arrogance, and your ideas, and go. It's just like Zen or Shugendō.

Because I take myself to places that are even more dangerous, I particularly need to have knowledge about how to rescue myself.
As a way of wanting to be helpful in the world, I take my photos having incorporated the methods and prayers that our ancestors, who knew ninja incantations, burned sage, and lived in the ancient and primitive world, performed because they were necessary to life.
I live with this accumulation of things, and try to think of this place as holy ground.

People need a variety of steps and entryways.
The sense of what I want to say here is that this need is the reason why the however many humans who have swum naked in the sea and come eye to with death are happy that they were able to do so, and though it may have been presumptuous, had the courage to stretch out their hand and open a door.

The Earth teaches us how to behave

Finally, since the crucial thing is yourself, teaching everything from 1 to 100 would be meaningless.
Once you try for yourself, you see that the water touching your fingertips is hard. You feel it and from that you understand. That's not something that's in a textbook. If you don't go, you won't understand.
Manners and propriety truly are things that are taught by the Earth. Earth Education.
You think it's scary so you offer a bow of greeting. Pardon me, but can you help a little?
The Earth is a living thing. It's looking at everyone more than you imagined.
Everything may begin and end with offering thanks, but in fact that's what lives on this planet.
Even if instructors at school will not teach it to you, if you step into it once it will remain in your body and heart.
You will not forget the taste of it for the rest of your life.

Let's take the word "aloha" as an example.
In Hawaiian, "alo" means to share, while "ha" is breath.
There is movement in rhythms and wavelengths that you cannot see.
Everybody talks about the waves on the seas like they are physical things; but in fact, they are a pattern that moves due to the conveyance of energy in the water.
In a sense, a wave is the sacrifice of some energy.
A certain movement of the hands recalls a wave, and this imitation,
like you are devoting something to the gods, is the basis of the Hawaiian hula.
We originally had to be present in that instant of consecration, and that act represents proper behavior.
When you do that, you are doing so with respect to both people and nature.
It is "aloha." There currently are few moments when we set words into our hearts.
First, we truly and genuinely put words into our hearts when it comes to nature, and put our hearts into our words.
We say thank you, or that something is beautiful.
Those moments are the most important things.
It's the same no matter what country you are from. Truly. It's not like a matter of trying something new.

Lowering your head in gratitude is a fundamental act of nature.
When it gets dark and you come back from the sea, you truly feel thankful to the Earth for showing you beautiful things.
Since you're in a world with colors not to be found in a painting kit, it can't be painted by people even though they talk of it.
You rediscover what you are, what living as the Earth is, how the waters tremble gently like feelings.
That's the moment when you feel happy that your grandma told you to "eat this" and fed you some octopus.
You feel it toward people you don't even know, this feeling of being truly grateful.
That's what people are like.

Seas connected with the tears

There's nothing false about happy moments and sad moments.
Long ago, I thought that you have to make people cry with photos. A documentary must be something that contains a concept of human life and death.
For that reason, I really believe that if you don't go to a battlefield, my photos won't reflect the genuine article.

But wait. I am a person of the sea, so it won't do to show only a world of sadness.
That's why, to return to zero, with the part of me that wants to pursue its knowledge, one day I put my camera and tripod into my bag and headed back to the free seas of my youth.
It might have been harsh, arduous, and difficult, but there is that place where the waves all mingle together.
There was a day after I had been photographing for two years when I took a photo that made me think, "This is it!"

We are embraced by the waters and we are alive, like when you say that your tears and sweat are like the seawater.
Yes, the seas are stuck to you, like when tears naturally well up whether in moments of happiness or sadness.
It's like they are being called forth. That's why we long for the sea.

Lightning strikes the mountains, and the ground is awash with rain

You pray to not be swallowed up by dense, dark tropical night

Your body is chilled, your strength is draining, and you sense the danger of not going back.

At that moment, a blacktip reef shark turns toward you to investigate.

Even though you know the shark is a safe one, you conceal yourself and turn toward him.

The shark disappears into the dark muddy depths.

If the shark comes, you will have to get away. You slowly turn without showing weakness.

When you stick your face up above water, an enormous line of waves suddenly approaches from offshore.

The instant it sharply comes down, the waves heavily and quickly penetrate your entire body.

It's not like you can lift yourself up onto the shoreline where you’re on some reef somewhere.

Even if you go around, you’ll have to swim toward the gap in the reef through which you originally came.

Everything exceeds the abilities of a human.

This is what the form of the Earth is.

It is the stance of the human heart.

The Earth and the cosmos show us the proper way.

They’re telling us something with their unmodified beauty.

*In addition to his photography, Mr.Kyobashi has accumulated a range of certifications and knowledge about emergency rescue techniques, including Australian life-saving approaches, the CRP/EAR and other first-aid techniques required for New Zealand’s Bronze Medallion, a U.S. Swift Water Rescue certificate, and certification as an advanced diver.
Please do not attempt any of his actions yourself.

Mikihiko Kyobashi
Ocean photographer
Mikihiko Kyobashi was born near the ocean, in Japan's Kanagawa prefecture in 1969. He spent his childhood skin diving and playing in the waters around the uninhabited islands off the coast of Yamaguchi. In 1992, his photography career began when he traveled around the Australian Pacific Islands with a camera. He believes that that people should experience the sea as simply and freely as possible, without using equipment like oxygen tanks. In 2002, using just flippers, he intuitively photographed the light and motion on the underside of waves without using a viewfinder, in work supported by the Patagonia ecological outdoor clothing company. His collaboration with the Swiss watchmaker Longines for the HydroConquest exhibition also attracted great global acclaim. Since speaking about his personal experiences on a talk show, he has presented his work in fine art and solo exhibitions in places such as the Republic of Latvia, the Dojima River Biennale in Osaka, and Art Fair Tokyo. He has just published 10 years of interlinked photographic art in his first collection Blue Forest. He aims to protect the environment and is a member of the "1% for the Planet" movement http://mikihiko.com/