Glowing Birches
Misty Wooded Hills

Winter Seclusion

All Alone

Quiet Reflections of Hokkaido Winter

Portland Japanese Garden

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In Quiet Reflections, Sandra Chandler artfully uses minimalist compositions to capture a vision of Hokkaido’s legendary winter that many visitors can only experience through medium of photography. Chandler applies her designer’s eye to composing elegant shots, distilled down from the frozen chaos of the rural Hokkaido landscape to present viewers with a quiet sense of calm amongst the blue-tinted snow. Images of nature essentially untouched by humanity, these images focus on a pristine, snow-covered landscape of barren tree branches. The muted, pale blue palette captures the essence of the cold. Although photography has the capacity to seize a moment of reality, the selective use of pared down composition evokes a more artistic interpretation of this iconic landscape.  

Art commands audacity and boldness, for it by definition reveals the creator’s most peculiar of worldviews and the most personal of sensibilities.
Conversely, art reveals more about the one who interprets it than the artist herself. And I can’t help but be exhilarated to find the epitome of this yin-yang dichotomy in the works of the photographer Sandra Chandler.

For her latest series “Quiet Reflections”, in the act of taking an instant out of time, Chandler detaches intentionality from the camera, to focus solely on the present by becoming a translucent intermediary, embellishing the subject matters with an extra layer of reality. The series showcases the essence of the brisk and solitary winter landscapes of Japan’s northernmost island, Hokkaido, capturing the iconic scenery of this region with an elegant lens. These unique photo works are printed on traditional mulberry scroll paper that affords much character to the medium, whereby the meticulous print quality meets texture to give woodblock-like visual effects and tonality, inspiring deeper reflection, and contemplation.

In the serenity of the captured scenery, Chandler’s intentions become clear, as the photo works project themselves as the canvas to our imagination, transporting the spectator to a place of self-discovery.

Chandler’s creative whimsy never escapes the artistic exploration. In the “metallic” version of the series, the images are lightly inverted in color and printed on a highly specialized metallic fine art paper to give the photo works a more painterly or Intaglio-print touch, while evoking a poignant sense of wonder and nostalgia.

Traversing time and space, Chandler’s innovative approach to photography grounded in her belief in simplicity and refinement of truth, always challenges us to find what is unique in us and nature and seeks to offer a half-prescribed picture to our own ideals, for she knows the fun lies in unraveling our own versions of the answer.

And that, is what makes Sandra Chandler a singular artist.

Aki Nakanishi
Arlene Schnitzer Curator of Culture, Art, and Education
Interim Director, International Japanese Garden Training Center
Portland Japanese Garden / The Japan Institute

Quiet Reflections of Hokkaido images catalogue in soft cover available.

© Copyright 2024. Sandra Chandler Photography. All rights reserved.