Manabu Miyazaki: The Pencil of Nature
13 January ― 14 April, 2013
A Ural Owl Has Its Nest in an Old Apple Tree, 2007
Manabu Miyazaki is a photographer who, since the early 1970s, has devised robotic cameras equipped with infrared sensors to photograph wild animals, lifting the veil of the forest that has concealed them. By using the penetrating vision of a hunter and cutting-edge equipment, he has made it possible for animals themselves to snap photographs.

The title of this exhibition comes from The Pencil of Nature, the world’s first photography book, which was produced by one of the inventors of photography, William Henry Fox Talbot. “Pencil of nature” implied that photographs are self-portraits that nature (light) draws by itself, and this concept applies to Miyazaki’s methodology as well. His work has translated mute nature into the visual language of photography, while in recent years, photographs of the wild animals that have increasingly encroached on human habitats and alien species that humans have introduced provide a mirror that reflects contemporary society.

This exhibition, his first solo show at the museum, will feature 130 photographs from his major series, including Ural Owls (which won the 9th Ken Domon Award), Animal Trails, Death, Persimmon Trees, and Contemporary Wild Animals. Explore the unknown world of animals through the work of this “news photographer of the natural world.”
How much do we really know about nature?

A Black Bear Plays with a Camera
The scene of a black bear playing with a robotic camera Miyazaki set up near a person’s residence. The life habits of the black bear, one of Japan’s most noted large-sized wild animals, have long been obscure, but the development of this kind of robotic camera has begun to shed light on them.
Ural Owl
The book Fukuro (Ural Owls) won the 9th Ken Domon Award. Setting equipment in trees and gradually getting the owls accustomed to lights, Miyazaki created a photo studio in the woods. Photographing an owl taking flight in the pitch darkness was a very difficult task, but it was made possible by the development of specialized sensors.
A Sika Deer that Died Quietly in the Snow
The Death series features fixed-point observation photographs, taken with robotic cameras, of animal corpses that return to the earth as they are dismembered by a variety of living things. In his book of the same title, the artist comments, “I learned from nature that life is connected in a continuous string, without interruption, through natural death.”
Related Events
• Talk Session: “Nature / Photography / Humans”
Manabu Miyazaki and Masashi Kohara (museum curator)
Date: January 13 (Sunday), 2:30–4:00 pm
Admission: Free with exhibition ticket
Limited to 150 guests
Register in advance by telephone (055-989-8780)

• Artist’s Gallery Talk
Date: January 19 (Saturday), 2:15–3:15 pm
Admission: Free with exhibition ticket
No advance registration required (gather at information counter)

• Curator’s Gallery Talk
Date: Every Saturday (except January 19), 2:15 pm (about 30 minutes)
Admission: Free with exhibition ticket
No advance registration required (gather at information counter)
Manabu Miyazaki
Born in 1949 in Nagano Prefecture. He has been active as a “news photographer of the natural world,” focusing on nature and human beings from a societal perspective. By using unmanned photographic equipment of his own design, he has captured many scenes of wild animal life that are difficult to photograph. He is known as the leading photographer of birds of prey in Japan. He has also worked in recent years as an adviser to communities that are developing policies to deal with the menace of wild animals.
His many books include Fukuro (Ural Owls, 1978), winner of the 1st Japan Picture Book Award grand prize; Washi to Taka (Eagles and Hawks, 1982), winner of the Photographic Society of Japan New Talent Award; Fukuro (Ural Owls, 1990), winner of the 9th Ken Domon Award; Shi (Death, 1995), winner of the Photographic Society of Japan Annual Award; and Dobutsu Mokushiroku (Animal Apocalypse, 1995), winner of the Kodansha Publishing Culture Award.

A robotic camera is placed along an animal trail in the woods, where its shutter is tripped automatically by an infrared sensor. By having animals snap their own photos, unknown scenes of the lives of wild animals were revealed.
Boars Gather around Discarded Watermelons
Many human activities, not only the discarding of food, but also agricultural produce and food offerings at gravesites, constitute “the unconscious, indirect feeding” of animals. Miyazaki points to this as one cause of the increasingly frequent encroachment of human habitats by wild animals.