[AWARD] Sony World Photography Awards 2020 Professional “Natural World and Wildlife” 2nd place

[AWARD] LensCulture Critics‘ Choice 2023 winner (Selected by Darius Himes, International Head of Photography at the auction house Christie's.)

[AWARD] Nature Conservancy's 2022 Global Photo Contest Wildlife Honorable Mention


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"himebotaru" is a small firefly with a body length of only 6 to 8 mm. That light is just a flash. Its body emits an unimaginably strong light for just a moment. himebotaru lives in forests rather than rivers, so its existence was largely unknown even though it lives throughout Japan. I didn't even know about the existence of these fireflies, which live in the forest just 100 meters from my home, until I was 50 years old. The way they dance wildly in the pitch darkness is truly mystical. I was really surprised when I saw it for the first time, and since then, photographing himebotaru has become my life's work.

It is very difficult to count living things in a certain place, but it is very easy to count the fireflies that glow as they fly at night. That's why fireflies are a barometer of rich nature and biodiversity. Female himebotaru cannot fly, so if a large road is built in their habitat, they will become extinct. This is caused by ``the fact that their existence is not known.'' For this reason, I have been researching and photographing the habitat of Himebotaru every night for two months from June to July for over 10 years. I believe that if people knew about the beautiful sight of dancing princess fireflies, they would be able to protect them.

Photographing himebotaru is difficult because the princess fireflies do not fly until it is completely dark, so the common method was to photograph the background while it was still bright and then synthesize the light from the princess fireflies into a comparatively bright image. I used to take pictures that way, but 8 years ago I started taking single shots by adjusting the ISO sensitivity and exposure time.

Himebotaru's light is the "light of life". It is a courtship light that takes its life as an adult for just one week. There is the beauty of the ``momentary moment'' and ``the awareness of things,'' but above all, there is the ``mystery of nature.'' There are few things a photographer can do when taking a photo, and himebotaru's photos are "landscapes drawn by himebotaru."