Midtown Gallery

Artist Statement

I must confess that I have had doubts about photography as a form of art somewhat all along, because of the nature of the activities relying on a camera for the most part. Prior to getting into photography, I had explored many forms of art in which I used my hands and imagination with simple mediums; pencils, ink, paint, woodblock and other non-tech methods.  I am at the point, however, where I have developed my joy in photography such that I can actually express my emotions through the images that I capture, overcoming these doubts during the creative process.

I enjoy photographing places in Oregon and the Northwest, where I have lived for four decades.  At first, I was drawn to remote areas of Oregon, where I felt a strong emotional connection to the landscape. I may not have had a clear vision for my creative process then, but I always sought beauty and inspiration in ordinary places, rather than following more ‘iconic’ locations.

Over the years, my focus has gradually shifted to the alpine country in the Oregon & Washington Cascades, where I venture out on backpacking trips.  Not only finding beauty and experiencing solitude in the wilderness, but also being in locations during dusk and dawn expanded photographic opportunities for me.  Bringing back memories that I find in those special places, made even more special by the hard work of getting there, both logistically and physically.

Light and Water are important elements of my landscape photography.  Magical lighting and captivating colors of water, combined with other elements like earth, sky, flora, and fauna that quietly thrive in the environment, those encounters continue to resonate with me long after I experience them.  When wildlife, regardless of its size, is seen in the images, my imagination instantly expands beyond the scene, and new stories unfold.

My goal is not just capturing landscapes.  I look for inspiration and imagination that I feel from a scene, with perspective and composition that I have learned from my own experience, including much trial and error.  I try to become transparent in capturing the scene as it is, yet I strive to convey my emotions, as well. When I finally achieve an image that is satisfying, it becomes a unique piece that no one else can create.

This exhibition “Understated Beauty of the Pacific Northwest & Beyond” represents a conceptual framework for my approach to photography.  It is not something that I knew from the beginning or created overnight.  Rather, it is a realization over time through my experience.  At 70 years into my life, this is a most auspicious moment, in cherishing both the special moments that I will always remember, and looking forward to experiencing and capturing many more. 

I am delighted to have you view my art in person today, as this is the most rewarding part for me. 1 In-person view > 1,000 Clicks.  I hope you feel the same. Thank you so much for coming to view what gives me one of the greatest joys in my life.  I am deeply honored to be able to share what I love.

Katsuyuki Shibata

Daybreak 2015
Snowbound 2018
Perfect Pause 2022
Echoes 2022