Yamakumata is the first published work in four years by award-winning conflict photographer Ryo Kameyama (“Afrika War Journal”) .
The black-and-white photos document life in the small village of Yamakumata in the mountains of Japan’s Niigata prefecture. There’s nothing here to sustain the 50 inhabitants but mountains (“yama” in Japanese), bears (“kuma”) and rice paddies (“ta”). Kameyama’s photographs of the villagers lives — hunting bears, traversing snowy forests, fishing in rivers — seem completely out of time, but it is their lifestyle, in balance with nature, that attracted him to this project in the first place.
“The villagers calmly face their reality and mortality; traveling into the depths of the wilderness, taking the lives of animals and sometimes giving their own lives in return. I get a strong sense of life and death observing the traditions that they have continued from ancient times.”
— from Ryo Kameyama’s foreword