A selenologist studies the moon. An ontologist is fascinated with being and nothingness. I met a pharographer once. He came from 7,000 miles away to document Maine’s lighthouses.
Most extraordinarily, I’ve met him three times.
His name is Fujio Mino. When he sent two gifts to our office last month (a calendar he’d shot and sparkling candies in the shape of a fish), we published his accompanying letter and I added the following tag, though I usually opt for understatement in an editor’s note:
“Pharographer Fujio Mino captures stunning photographic images of lighthouses across the world, many in Maine. He first visited our office in the 1980s, with his star rising in the art world. A decade later, he visited us again. In 1994, he sent us a postcard, followed by a visit in the 2000s, across dark oceans of time and distance. To see his extraordinary work, recognized by Fuji film for excellence, visit pharographer.com.”
Maine has an embarrassment of riches with our lighthouses. We take them for granted. It takes someone like Mino, shooting for viewers in Japan, hungry for the strangeness of our lighthouses, to wake us up to their mysteries.
See Maine through his eyes:
• Tenants Harbor (テナンド・ハーバー)
• Pemaquid Point (ピマクッド・ポイント)
• Nubble Light, Cape Neddick (ケープ・ヌディック)
• West Quoddy Head (ルベック)
• Marshall Point (ポートクライド)
Mino’s images are crisp, stopped in time. Confident in his talent, he isn’t afraid to let other elements of a photo steal the show. One of my favorites has a memorable lighthouse in the foreground, but it’s the ghostly freighter slipping out of view in the background that inspires.
He “was born in Kagawa in 1963,” according to his site. “Graduated from Japan Journalism College (Editing Major). After years of working for an ‘ad-maker,’” he visited Yosemite, trailing after Ansel Adams. Stopping on the West Coast at a lighthouse hostel on the Pacific, he saw a poster of a Maine lighthouse and was hooked.
At Portland Monthly, we value our friends who connect with us in person and by reading our pages over the years. Mino’s striking art deepens the value of seeing “ourselves as others see us”–Maine’s lighthouses in infinite recursion across a global culture.
Mino leads international “tours to visit overseas lighthouses” across the Seven Seas, with our coast his sine qua non, the showstopper (ショーストッパー, pron.: shōsutoppā).
The root of “pharographer” is Pharos, the name of the Lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt, designed by Sostratus. Destroyed by an earthquake, it was one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.