Photographer Mark Edward Harris has traveled the world — 98 countries and counting — in the name of documentation, photographing everyday life in less-traversed destinations like North Korea and Iran. Most recently, his travels took him to Japan, where he literally immersed himself in hot springs for his book, The Way of the Japanese Bath (he is currently working on the third edition). We caught up with Mark to learn about his process.
JAPAN — My first onsen experience in Beppu, a town often shrouded in water vapor on the southern island of Kyushu, converted me into a furo-aholic (bath-aholic) in the early 1990s. Two decades later, I still find the magical waters an endless source of visual and visceral pleasure. I started taking a series of images in the film days, but am now working with state-of-the-art digital cameras, including the Leica X-U with a Summilux 23mm f/1.7 ASPH lens, which has opened up more opportunities for continuing my series. The under/overwater camera has allowed me to get tack-sharp images working around water without the need for underwater housing or fear of drowning my camera (something I've done three times in the course of my career). Here is a selection of images from my series, including a few from my most recent visits to Japan.
The Way of the Japanese Bath is available on amazon.com for $32.