The Japanese photographer Toshio Shibata has spoken of the balance between natural and manmade environments in his images. He takes photographs of engineering works — “architecture” would be too grand a word — often situated in handsome settings. Dams and power plants are one thing. The industrial sublime is still sublime. Abutments, pavement, aquatic booms, those are quite another. How about a waterfall behind a chain-link fence? The juxtaposition is all the more striking for Shibata’s having photographed the fencing so that it looks like a vine.
“Toshio Shibata, Constructed Landscapes” runs at the Peabody Essex Museum through Dec. 31. The show consists of 28 photographs, taken between 1988 and 2012. Some are as large as 49 inches by 60 inches. None is smaller than 25 inches by 30 inches.
“I took pictures of things that were neither unique nor photogenic,” Shibata has said. “And adopted an approach in which it was