As part of this summer’s Healing Power of Nature series, we’re partnering with photographer and creative Shino Kitano. In her work, she seeks to connect to the world by capturing the various ways life occurs, from the simple to the complex. Her career spans over 15 years, with appearances in print publications and television, and a photojournalism project We The People with Rico Washington featured in the Smithsonian collection.
We chatted with Shino before she embarked on a road trip across the United States. As a newer outdoor person who has spent much of her life in urban environments, her cross-country trip will allow her to experience the healing power of nature.
Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Shino Kitano, I’m from Tokyo, Japan and then lived in New York City for a long time – about 15 years – before moving to Portland four years ago.
Can you share any experiences in nature that inspired your upcoming trip?
Last year, I went on a shorter road trip to New Mexico. I was unprepared and faced some challenges but one evening I found myself in a beautiful area that was home to some wild horses. I’ve never seen horses in the wild, and I enjoyed the sunset while watching them. The experiences on this trip were the catalyst for me to commit to the trip across the United States.
Can you tell us a bit about the trip you’re about to embark on? What are your expectations?
I have always wanted to take a cross-country road trip. Ever since I was in my 20s, I've been thinking about it, and I finally decided to make it happen. I will be driving from Portland to New York, and then back. I expect to be gone about 3 months.
Well, I’m such a city girl, I’m from Tokyo you know! I haven’t really done much camping, I’m not used to spending time outdoors, so this trip is something very new to me. However, I was born in Niigata where Snow Peak is from. I would return to visit my grandparents Niigata and spend time in nature, and then when I would return to Tokyo, I would feel lost. Everything would look so grey. I have always found answers in nature. So that’s something I’m looking for on this trip – connecting people, connecting myself to nature. Another part of my trip is talking to many people – all strangers – during Takibi Time. I want to set bias and differences aside – whether it’s background, religion, nationality or political perspectives. I think being in nature connects us to each other. I hope to be able to document that.
Shino will be sharing reflections from the road as she makes her way across the United States. Follow @snowpeakusa and @shinocou for updates!