Seen: Long Hug Town #5
Where: Totem Pole Photo Gallery, Shinjuku
When: December 11 – 23, 2018 / Open 12:00-19:00 / (Closed Mondays)
The fifth entry in Mizushima’s ongoing Long Hug Town series proves he’s really on to something. His gear is simple- a Canon SLR with a 35mm f2 lens, a flash, and pockets of 35mm color film. With the exception of a few friends, most of his subjects (”98% of them”, he says) were snapped soon after the photographer encountered them on the street. Or in a park. Or along a river. The photograph of the four schoolgirls may look like an orchestrated album cover shot but it’s really a snapshot, the result of his request for a picture combined with his ability to put them at ease for a sudden and impromptu photo session. He just keeps getting better.
Copies of his photobook Long Hug Town are available in the gallery and online, here.
Leica iiif with 50mm f2 Jupiter-8 lens
Seen: in silence
Who: 野村佐紀子 Sakiko Nomura / website
Where: Place M, Shinjuku
When: December 3 - 9, 2018
Sakiko Nomura held two seperate photo exhibitions in December, 2018. At Place M she showed in silence- an apt title considering the presentation and content. If these pictures had any sounds you’d likely hear the rustling of bed sheets. The male nude- particularly one which is supine and indoors- has long been a major theme of her work. The way she incorporates dimly lit and heavily shadowed bodies with landscapes and images from her life is unique- the seeming vulnerability of her male subjects is rare and the consistency of her vision over the years is impressive.
Seen: 涅槃少女 / Nehan Shojou
Who: Nobuyoshi Araki 荒木経惟
When: December 12 – January 20, 2019 (Open 1-7pm. Closed Mondays, Tuesdays, and from Dec. 27-Jan.6)
With the exception of a handful of polaroids, this latest exhibition of Araki’s lacks photographs of people. Rather than focusing on the living, the images presented are of his bizarre still lifes punctuated by an growing community of antique Japanese dolls pulled from their traditional outfits and glass cases. These dolls share a strange world with comically odd creatures and lurid flowers- the sizes at which the photographs are printed makes for a peculiar and interesting encounter.
This exhibition’s title, Nehan Shojou can be translated as “Girl of Nirvana”- the inclusion of the mannequin of a young girl – a new addition to the photographer’s mandala. Viewers of his book Winter Journey may recall photographs in it of a painted wooden sign of a young girl holding a black cat- this was an object on the street which Araki compulsively photographed while on his way to visit his dying wife Yoko in the hospital in 1991. He has written that it was a totem that kindled thoughts Yoko as a child- a reflection on a life facing impending death. It’s possible that this mannequin fills a similar photographic role now as well.
Seen: 焦がれ死に Die Of Love
Where: Zen Foto Gallery, Roppongi
When: November 24 – December 22, 2018 (12- 7pm / closed Sundays and Mondays)
Hideka Tonomura’s work is rooted in the interactions between compact film cameras and private lives. In this series she’s interspersed daily snapshots and photographs of women she knows- the pictures above aren’t entirely (or even fairly) representative of the series, as much of what’s exhibited isn’t safe for work or Instagram or now even Tumblr.
Sorry Tumblr- – Tonomura’s work is all about the algorithmic horror of females presenting. Considering the current state that the present has become, the more the internet clamps down the more that paper publications are recognized as true outlets for uncompromised artistic vision. You won’t see much of her work in full on tumblr but a new (nsfw) photobook accompanies the show and is available on shashasha.
Outside Mitsubado Camera, Nippori, Tokyo
Many sincere thanks to all who’ve purchased a copy of my photobook Zuisha this past year- It was a humbling yet pleasant surprise to see it ranked as the top selling title in 2018 on shashasha- the online store for photobooks direct from Japan.
Copies of the book are still available here.
Asahi Pentax Spotmatic with 55mm f1.8 lens
Oh come on….
“I must regretfully inform you that we are now closing the 31 year history of “Camera Mainichi”. The automatization of the camera has had some bearing on this. That (automatization) did not expand the sales of the single-reflex-camera, but rather seems to have put an end to it. Moreover, with automatization, the camera has become an electronic instrument. The age of silver bromide photographs must undergo a great period of transition now that electronic photography has appeared.“
The final issue of Camera Mainichi, April 1985.
Ueno Park, Tokyo