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This series originated from a trivial misunderstanding that actually occurred one winter's day between my wife and me. That day, we went out for a walk in the forest. Suddenly she said, “I saw a white butterfly.” Thinking that there would be no butterflies in winter, I looked in the direction she was pointing. No matter how hard I looked though, I couldn’t see any butterfly.


I don’t know whether it was a figment of her imagination, or whether it really existed and was invisible to me only because of my poor eyesight. However, this trivial event continued to flutter between us and gradually took on a contemplative dimension that provided the impetus for this series.

At the start of the project, the focus was on how to represent that invisible butterfly. However, little by little it dawned on me that I was really telling the story of how I, who am gradually losing my sight, and my wife, who is still able to see normally, were gently separated and then reunited. Upon this realisation, I began to see that this invisible butterfly, sometimes found in the trees, sometimes in the snow, sometimes in the light, was the thing holding our relationship together.


Yudai Ninomiya is a Japanese photographer whose projects explore a cognitive world that combines a narrative of misunderstandings between himself and others.


His interest is in how our perception originating from nature, architecture, and objects affects memory, sensation, and imagination. He deliberately uses perceptional errors resulting from his physical condition as a source of inspiration for his projects. He is currently engaged in projects that combine experimentally created optical phenomena with his own memories.  


One such project examines how a person undergoing progressive narrowing of the visual field gains new perception. He was awarded Jurors’ pick at the Lensculture Black and White Photography  Award 2022.

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