Mono no aware (物の哀れ?), literally “the pathos of things”, and also translated as “an empathy toward things”, or “a sensitivity to ephemera”, is a Japanese term for the awareness of impermanence (無常 mujō?), or transience of things, and both a transient gentle sadness (or wistfulness) at their passing as well as a longer, deeper gentle sadness about this state being the reality of life.
Japanese director Yasujiro Ozu was well known for creating a sense of mono no aware, frequently climaxing with a character very understatedly saying “Ii tenki desu ne?” (いい天気ですね?, “Fine weather, isn’t it?”), after a familial and societal paradigm shift, such as a daughter being married off, against the backdrop of a swiftly changing Japan.
"I’m a habitual self-interlocutor. Around the time I started photographing at the Natural History Museum, one evening I had a near-hallucinatory vision. The question-and-answer session that led to this vision went something like this:
Suppose you shoot a whole movie in a single frame?
And the answer:
You get a shining screen.
Immediately I sprang to action, experimenting toward realizing this vision. Dressed up as a tourist, I walked into a cheap cinema in the East Village with a large-format camera. As soon as the movie started, I fixed the shutter at a wide-open aperture, and two hours later when the movie finished, I clicked the shutter closed.
That evening, I developed the film, and the vision exploded behind my eyes.”