5" x 4"
Juntei Mon, 1998
7" x 6"
7" x 6"
Kosokuji (roof), 1993
6" x 7"
Peter Miller is American
artist living in Japan for many years.
"I had done conventional
photography for many years, since childhood. In Japan I joined the All-Japan
Mountain Photographers Association, the only foreign member. But I thought
there is something missing from the conventional photo, as an object. Then
in New York in 1989, I saw some 19th-century photogravures done by Peter
Henry Emerson, an American in England. These had a depth and tonal subtlety,
the ink-on-paper tactile quality of an etching that I was unconsciously
looking for. This struck me as a sort of revelation, what I wanted to do.
Of course, actually doing it was extremely difficult, as I had no knowledge
of the photogravure printmaking process, and no teacher. From my consulting
experience in the printing industry, though, I knew a little about the
use of ultra-violet light to expose printing plates. So I found some books
and articles about the 19th-century photogravure process, and taught myself
how to do it. It took one year of experiments, trial-and-error. It was
a huge risk, as I ended the consulting business, so there was no income,
while buying a lot of equipment and doing theseexperiments in my workshop.
But after a while it worked out all right. There were exhibits and sales.
Something about the technique lends itself to Japanese imagery -- the black-and-white
perhaps similar to ink-brush painting, the simplicity and tonal subtlety.
The photogravure technique itself was never practiced in Japan, though
there is a tradition of Japanese etching. But my style is perhaps more
Japanese in its way of seeing than in the medium I practice. My prints
are in the permanent collection of the Sackler Gallery of the Smithsonian,
which is the US national museum of Asian art. In recent years I have tried
to extend the Japanese perspective that occurs in my prints to scenes outside
To see more works by
Peter Miller visit his Web
Snow country, 1996
14" x 11"
8" x 11"
No way, 1996
11" x 8"
Bamboo Story, 1996
11" x 13"