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Art Photo Collector

Posts tagged Japan:

"Whatever is in any way beautiful hath its source of beauty in itself, and is complete in itself; praise forms no part of it. So it is none the worse nor the better for being praised." —Marcus Aurelius 

Beauty, in the most sublime sense, is an inherent good. When I encounter it, I am reminded how little it matters what I, or anyone else, think about it. Writing over 1,800 years ago, Marcus Aurelius, as many others before him, understood it too. 

I recently came across the Pakistani-born, Tokyo-based photographer Arif Iqball's work via David Alan Harvey’s excellent online magazine burn.  These pictures of Geiko and their apprentice Maiko are simple, elegant, contemplative, and sumptuous with color. It is the respect and love from the photographer that infuses them with their sensitivity. His admiration for Japanese culture and tradition is evident. Mr. Iqball is still developing as a photographer, but this delightful series (including the B&W version on his website) shows promise. —Lane Nevares 

"A single photograph is a mere fragment of an experience and, simultaneously, the distillation of the entire body of one’s experience." —Shomei Tomatsu

Tomorrow night in Cologne, Germany the Galerie Priska Pasquer will host a vernissage for the great Japanese photographer, Shomei Tomatsu. While still not widely known in the States, Tomatsu is, without question, one of Japan’s most important photographers. 

Born in 1930, Tomatsu came of age in the devastating aftermath of post-WWII Japan. A quiet, reserved and self-taught photographer, he would first go on to document the atomic devastation in Nagasaki as he discusses in this brief video.  Later, however, his work would follow the changing dynamism of Japanese culture and society as it emerged from the war and into the bright lights of capitalism and consumerism.

We can thank the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art for first bringing Shomei Tomatsu to the attention of a broader American audience.  Their groundbreaking retrospective, "Skin of the Nation" in 2006, helped us to understand the importance of Tomatsu’s work. And today, Aperture magazine’s latest fall issue #208 displays a Tomatsu image on the cover and a feature on his work in Okinawa.

I invite you to explore Shomei Tomatsu’s legacy and to discover for yourself, why the sensitivity, power and grace of his images have influenced Japanese photography for generations. —Lane Nevares


"The truth is that anyone can make a photo. The trouble is not that photos are hard to make. The trouble is that photos are hard to make intelligent and interesting." —John Szarkowski 

I recalled this quote recently while visiting the NY Photo Festival last week in Brooklyn. I enjoyed many of the exhibits, but I came away feeling that the Tokyo-Ga show was the stand-out.  The founder and curator, Ms. Naoko Ohta, has assembled quite a fantastic selection of contemporary Japanese photographers, many of whom were unknown to me.  I am happy to discover the work of two young photographers in particular, Masami Yamamoto and Junpei Kato .  

Yamamoto’s images offer mystery and chiaroscuro, while Kato’s clean lines and colors transcend banal, urban surfaces.  Both photographers are distinctly different, but are alike in how they capture Beauty by taking simplicity and giving it meaning—not an easy thing to do, but the results are intelligent and interesting. —Lane Nevares