FIELD REPORT IN NIIGATA – Hints we learn from nature for Iwagumi – Part1

Editors of Aqua JournalEditors of Aqua Journal
The founder of Nature Aquarium and Iwagumi layouts, Takashi Amano. Nature in Niigata nurtured Amano’s outlook on nature. For this time, a SUIKEI creator, Yusuke Homma visited Sasagawa Nagare and Mizunashi River to find some hints for Iwagumi.
Sasagawa Nagare is a memorable place for me where Amano used to visit many time for photoshoots.
There is no other place like this to learn Iwagumi.
Itagai, Murakami City, Niigata Prefecture / Velvia 100F 5x7in

A hint we learn from seashore sceneries for Iwagumi

Sasagawa Nagare which is close to the border of Yamagata Prefecture located in north of Niigata Prefecture is a scenic spot with a long line of unusual rocks and reefs on the coastline of Sea of Japan. Takashi Amano visited this place so many times and took photos of the sceneries. Those photos have been featured in his photo books, ‘Aqua Journal’ and ‘SUIKEI’ in the past as inspirational tips for Iwagumi layouts. I went to those photoshoots with Amano as an assistant. For this time, I myself decided to visit this memorable place of Amano for Aqua Journal to learn how to create Iwagumi layouts again. Although Amano’s Iwagumi layout style was developed through sceneries underwater of rivers in the beginning, he quite often incorporated with elements from sceneries of seashores as he advanced more layouts. A thing to learn from sceneries of seashores Amano used to talk about is that there are connections and flows of stones or rocks apart from those of rivers. Some rocks may seem isolated, but they are all connected underwater and under oceans. To express it with Iwagumi, of course we have to pay attention to types of stones first, colors and textures and roughness of the stone surfaces or directions of trenches. By doing so, Iwagumi will have a natural sense of unity.
SUIKEI Creator, Yusuke Homma used to go for photoshoots with Amano as an assis-tant for a long time. For this time, he used Amano’s large format camera as well.
(Editorial Department)
Wakikawa, Murakami City, Niigata Prefecture/
Belvia 100F 5x7in

A hint for Iwagumi seen from cut-out sceneries

Because there are many rocks scattered in great shapes in Sasagawa Nagare, just looking through a camera viewfinder is a good practice for cutting out sceneries so that it can be utilized for creating aquascapes.
Also, when cutting out a part from a broad scenery, a hint for Iwagumi becomes clear. Scattered rocks connect under the ocean, and there is a constant flow.
Itagai, Murakami City, Niigata Prefecture / Belvia 100F 5x7in

Stabilize a composition.
Learn stone arrangements.

Oyaishi (main stone) is the most important presence setting a flow and a direction in an Iwagumi layout. In this scenic photograph, the large stone in the center determines a flow and a direction.