I began photographing “Ice Formation” in 2010 and have continued to seek ice patterns that appear on the swamps, ponds, lakes and rivers of interior Alaska. The patterns are mysterious and wondrous, delicate and ephemeral. They form quietly, change quickly and disappear while I find only a few. Each pattern is unique, and every season of ice formations is different. Many of the formations are frozen bubbles of gases, such as methane and CO2, trapped under ice. When water freezes, it turns into ice slowly from the surface and traps the gases. The bubbles and freezing temperatures create unique geometric patterns. The diameter of the ice formations in these photos range from 10 to 50 inches. Because methane gas is considered one of the fundamental causes of greenhouse effects, scientists in Alaska are researching these frozen bubbles in relation to global climate change. I hope that the dynamic changes of water captured in this series will guide viewers to feel connected to nature, inspire their curiosity of natural phenomena, and invite them to explore the geometric beauty in the details of the organic patterns. The vital dialogue between a person and their surroundings can develop their thoughts on how they live in the place, perhaps allowing them to face bigger issues like global climate change. Everything – even if it appears to be insignificant – connects to larger aspects of our Earth.
Ryota Kajita is originally from Japan, completed his MFA degree in photography at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, worked at the University of Alaska Museum of the North as a collection photographer, and taught at the Joshibi University of Art and Design in Japan.
His photographs have been exhibited in The Aesthetica Art Prize (2012 and 2013), Aperture Summer Open (2014), Geo-Cosmos Content Contest (2014) of The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, FotoFilmic SOLO IV Winner Exhibition (2018) and other shows.
His photography series “Ice Formation” has been featured in Photo Technique magazine (November/December 2012), WIRED.com (August 2015), 城市画報 -CITY ZINE- (January/February 2016), and is represented by Susan Spiritus Gallery in Newport Beach, California. His work became part of the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs and The Alaska Contemporary Art Bank.
Kajita was selected for Blue Sky 2013 and 2018 Pacific Northwest Photography Viewing Drawers Program of the Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts, and won the Grand Prize in ONWARD Compe ’13 International Photography Competition, the Student Abstract Category Award in 2013 American Aperture Awards (AX3). He was chosen for a finalist in Lens Culture’s Earth Awards 2015 and CENTER Project Launch Grant Juror’s Choice recipient 2017.