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Art Photo Collector

Posts tagged japanese photographers:

"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 

“Perhaps the reason why Balthus dared to paint the limbs of a young girl was that he was attempting to provoke narrow-minded 20th century notions of eroticism. And so in this photographic series the dual presence of innocence and eroticism points to the objectification of 20th century values, which is itself an important part of the work.” — Hisaji Hara


The Japanese photographer Hisaji Hara’s photographs are reminders of the past with a modern interpretation. By using Balthus’s paintings as inspiration and avoiding any use of digital manipulation, he meticulously constructs his images in camera.  Multiple exposures, smoke machines, cinematic lighting, a vintage interior—all work to create a painterly atmosphere.  These photographs, with their reinterpretations of Balthus’s paintings, challenge us to rethink the relationship between subject and viewer, including our notions of innocence and propriety.

The first European solo show of Hisaji Hara’s work ends this month at the Michael Hoppen Gallery in London.  And for a thoughtful exploration of the exhibit, check out Sean O’Hagan’s review in the Guardian.  —Lane Nevares

"Atmosphere and lighting are very important to me. When I photograph en contre-jour, what I am trying to do is capture the soul or aura of the subject rather than the subject itself… I guess that is the reason why people say that my lighting is unique."  Rinko Kawauchi
Good photographs, like all great art, resonate with the viewer long after seeing the actual work.  Recently, I happened upon the work of Rinko Kawauchi and found myself drawn into her world of color and light. The images have never left me. Beguilingly simple, Kawauchi’s photographs tell stories, ask questions, and reflect broader themes.  And when pulled together into a wonderfully edited book or a slideshow these images take on a greater power.  Take note: Rinko Kawauchi is one of Japan’s finest working photographers, and, I suspect, one we’ll continue hearing more about.  Lane Nevares

"Atmosphere and lighting are very important to me. When I photograph en contre-jour, what I am trying to do is capture the soul or aura of the subject rather than the subject itself… I guess that is the reason why people say that my lighting is unique."  Rinko Kawauchi

Good photographs, like all great art, resonate with the viewer long after seeing the actual work.  Recently, I happened upon the work of Rinko Kawauchi and found myself drawn into her world of color and light. The images have never left me. Beguilingly simple, Kawauchi’s photographs tell stories, ask questions, and reflect broader themes.  And when pulled together into a wonderfully edited book or a slideshow these images take on a greater power.  Take note: Rinko Kawauchi is one of Japan’s finest working photographers, and, I suspect, one we’ll continue hearing more about.  Lane Nevares