An in-depth review of ‘Yuka & The Forest’ by Kris Kozlowski Moore

Our lives in the West are evidently powered by a paradigm of speed, but perhaps it is time to slow down. Yuka & The Forest by Lena C. Emery appears to do this. In the artist’s second book, we are introduced to the forests of Japan, more specifically those termed chinju no mori (sacred forests surrounding Shinto shrines). The book opens with a story written in the first person by Emery, poetically narrating a meditative walk that the photographs later illustrate. It is vivid, sensual prose that instills tranquility of mind, where talk of clouds as gentle giants, morning bird trills, tree spirits inhabiting twisting Japanese tree trunks and instances of meaningful touch between human and nature populate the passage. Importantly, Emery opts to at times uses Japanese words, melding her western thoughts with traditional language to underscore Japan’s harmonious relationship with nature whilst accentuating the remaining dichotomies between the East and West. In the West we are conditioned to consume, the forests around us identified, labelled and deconstructed as inanimate resources, a model of thought that conceals the harm it causes ourselves and the wider world. Yet Japan’s collective psyche towards the spiritual, psychological, medical and cultural value of the land has enabled them to preserve monumental areas of earth in its natural state. Because the preface echoes the visual narrative to come, it grounds us in the ideas that the work ultimately revolves around. It’s a precursor to the importance that Emery puts on the world. Read on here.


Tokyo based Pen Magazine International writes about Yoko Ikeda, Toshio Shibata and Lena C. Emery

Three photographers, Yoko Ikeda, Toshio Shibata and Lena C. Emery, are all celebrating the majestic nature of Japanese trees in their own way, with a book and a double exhibition. With Treescapes, a joint exhibition commissioned by the New York-based Laurence Miller Gallery, Yoko Ikeda and Toshio Shibata contrast their different but complementary views of nature….The magical dimension to her work echoes that of Lena C. Emery, a young German photographer. Her love of trees dates back to her childhood, when she walked around the different nature reserves in Singapore. Her new book, Yuka & the Forest, tells the contemplative story of Yuka, the solitary fictional character, in the mysterious, dense and poetic spaces in the Japanese forest. The photographer also pays homage to the Shintoist concept of chinju-no-mori (broadly speaking, the notion of the idolisation and protection of nature), which she discovered on one of her many trips to Japan over the past few years. The whole work is printed on recycled paper and thus actively strives to preserve the forest: 10% of the profits go straight to the WWF to help protect the environment.


Internship at Lena C. Emery Studio

We are currently accepting applications for internships from October 2019 or later. Please send your CV, including any special skills or interests as well as your motivation behind applying to: studio@lenaemery.com


Brad Feuerhelm writes about ‘Yuka & The Forest’ on American Suburb X

It somehow seems pertinent to have left this title too long to review having been caught in the deluge of books landing on my desk in a velocity that no longer seems sustainable. And sustainability is what we should be speaking about as fires rage through the forests of the Amazon. The lungs as it were, observed by the eyes of the collective body prepared to choke on a negative feedback loop for the price of a better burger. It depends on how we spin it I guess, but one cannot feel a profound dislocation these days from the environment and our place within it.

“A culture that can instill the need for harmony and interdependence towards our natural environment within its people has the best chance for a sustainable future”.

…reads the endpaper of Yuka & The Forest by Lena C. emery (APE) and if I discount that I’m reading this sentiment on paper in a book, I can genuinely feel the analysis, but whether we can assume that a “people” exists outside of globalism is an interesting question, discounting of course native tribal populations being wiped out of their Amazon homes as we speak. However, sometimes we can only gravitate towards sentiment in photography no matter the inconsistencies of its physical nature… In considering the metaphorical terms, it would be a shame to lose sight of the grandiosity of the images themselves. Make no mistake, the images of the forest and of Yuka are truly beautiful. I am reminded more and more of an image by Ed Van Der Eslken Vali in the Mirror with Striped Blouse for some reason… Read on here


Come Join Us in Protest for OUR CLIMATE!

Millions of us will walk out of our workplaces and homes to join the streets for the Global Climate Strike to demand climate justice for everyone! Our house is on fire — let’s act like it! Friday, Sept 20th. 9am – 5pm, King’s College London, Strand, WC2R 2LS


‘Yuka & The Forest’ is currently on show at the London Art Book Fair at Whitechapel Gallery

Convened by associate curator Amy Budd this year’s public programme for the London Art Book Fair brings together some of the most innovative art publishers into dialogue around key questions in the industry today, alongside presentations by London-based artists, curators and poets working with text, publishing and performance. 


‘Yuka & The Forest’ at Perimeter Books, Melbourne

‘Yuka & The Forest’ has made it down under into one of our favourite book stores: Perimeter Books, 748 High St, Thornbury VIC 3071, Australia


Leporello Books, Il Masetto Summer Program 2019

Yuka & the Forest is one of 7 other titles selected by Leporello Books within the Il Masetto Travelling Book Store Summer Program 2019.


ARLES: Prix du Livre d’Auteur / Author Book Award 1 JULY – 22 SEPTEMBER 2019

Yuka & The Forest is currently on show as part of the 2019 Prix du Livre d’Auteur within the Rencontres d’Arles Book Awards. There are three categories of books: Authors’, Historical and Photo-Text. The Fondation Jan Michalski pour l’Écriture et la Littérature backs and encourages the Photo-Text Book Award, which celebrates the relationship between words and images. Each book is received in two copies: one is deposited at the library of the École Nationale Supérieure de la Photographie d’Arles, the other put on public display throughout the festival period.


BOOK SIGNING of ‘Yuka & The Forest’ Saturday, 2nd of March, 17.00 – 18.00 Yvon Lambert Bookshop

Come join us at Yvon Lambert, 14 rue des Filles du Calvaire, Paris.


‘The Practice’ shown on Dazed

Posturing: Photographing the body in fashion is on at London’s Ground Floor Project, Kensington. Holly Hay, and curator Shonagh Marshall, the show pulls together work from the archives of over 20 fashion photographers to charter a movement in which the body is captured in extraordinary gestures and poses, tracing a new aesthetic in fashion photography that originated in 2010 and continues to develop today.  The show’s photographers are differentiated by their unique approaches to posture and pose, yet all united in taking the fashion image beyond the garment. Take Lena C Emery’s surreal posturing that turns the body into elastic and pushes it far beyond its physical limits with torso strewn over head.


BJP features 10 pages of ‘Yuka & The Forest’ inside Dec 2018 issue titled ‘Nature’

In their latest issue the British Journal of Photography, speak with Lena C Emery about her latest work, Yuka & The Forest, which draws on Japan’s powerful cultural connection to forests. Todd Hido’s latest series, Bright Black World, presents a more chilling vision, showing icy landscapes that suggest a impending environmental disaster. 


‘Rie’ named one of the most exciting and projects of 2016 by British Journal of Photography

Rie was selected as one of the most engaging & exciting projects in photography to come out in 2016 by the British Journal of Photography and featured on their January 2017 Cover.


Charmaine Li writes about ‘Rie’ on Another

….Inside the book, there’s also a short poetic monologue written by the photographer herself which further explores how vulnerable the act of exposing ourselves and our skin to another can be. “By purposely taking the conversation out of a contemporary context and writing in the voice of a naïve young girl – ruminating on the joys of days spent uninhibitedly whilst living in rural Japan during a bygone era – I was hoping to re-instill a sense of innocence in the way that we view our bodies; and also encourage a connectedness with the natural world around us,” says Emery.


‘Rie’ featured on Purple Diary

Published by KominekLENA C. EMERY presents her first monograph “RIE”, which examines sensuality and self-exposure through an innately feminine lens: “Within the series of Rie, I wanted to embark on an inherently female dialogue on the subject of revealing. Japan is uniquely ambiguous in this respect which encouraged me to explore these thoughts through the communication with and portrayal of Japanese women.


Lucy Bourton writes about ‘Rie’ on It’s Nice That

Lena C. Emery is a name in the photography industry that is usually met with the response “she’s amazing!” Not only is this certainly true, it is a statement proven in her new monograph, Rie 理絵. The publication’s title is taken from a main subject within the book, a woman named Rie, whose name aptly translates as ‘truth’ and ‘picture’. The book follows a poetic narrative embarking “on an inherently female dialogue on the subject of revealing,” says Lena whose photography consistently presents a fresh view of femininity.


‘Rie’ featured on SLEEK

…photographing women in various states of undress, Emery concentrates on the idea of “apparent vulnerability” and how it intersects with “the understanding and appreciation of the powerful notion of being naked”. Through this anthology of images, Emery envelops her characters in the same colour palette and structural set-ups that she has become known for, further solidifying her signature style.