Nikon F2 Photomic with 50mm f1.4 Nikkor lens
Photographer: Sang Lee / instagram
Ricoh GR3 & Polaroid SX-70
Mitsubado Camera, Nippori, Tokyo
Leica MDa with 21mm f4 Super Angulon lens
Zenza Bronica ETR-C with Zenzanon MC 75mm f2.8 lens
Photographer: Mamoru Nishioka / instagram
Lomography Belair X 6-12 with Instax Wide instant back
Leica MA with MS Optical 35mm f1.4 Reiroal lens
Seen: 二つの光 Futatsu no Hikari
Who: Tomona Hayashi / instagram
Where: 3rd District Gallery, Shinjuku
When: April 9th – April 21st, 2019 / Open daily, 1:00 – 8:00pm
Hayashi is one of my favorite photographers. She exhibits new work a few times a year and- I never miss her shows.
Futatsu no Hikari (dual light, twin light, two lights) combines recent color snapshots from Japan and a recent trip to Mexico. As always, her photographs have a reverberation to them- this is from the fact that each image isn’t a planned idea but beautiful evidence of her reaction to a patch of light or distinctly fleeting moment. She deals with them with a press of the shutter button. Catching up with her in the gallery we found we both agreed that, since we both work as a response to what’s in front of us– that is, if something compels you to make a picture the best way, maybe the only way, to do so is to directly snap that very view that did it. If something catches your eye on the street then that’s the angle to frame it.
She also pointed out that there’s no need to take more than one picture at a time- most often in a string of portraits it’s usually the first in which you “get” it, anyway. This approach runs counter to many but her work is better than most.
Zen Foto Gallery, Roppongi, Tokyo
Leica R8 with 21mm f4 Super-Angulon lens and Metz flash
Zen Foto Gallery, Roppongi, Tokyo
Leica M6 with Voigtlander Color-Skopar 35mm f2.5 lens
Who: Shinya Arimoto 有元伸也 website
When: April 5th – 27th, 2019 (Open 12-7pm. Closed Sun. x%x Mon.)
Shinya Arimoto spent the late 1990′s hitchhiking around Tibet with a Rolleiflex and a backpack full of film. That’s the simplest introduction to these pictures. Arimoto- over the course of three seperate six-month visas- produced portraits as interesting, as proud, as thoughtful, and as beautiful as any in the history of the medium.
There’s undeniably awe in these photographs but never a trace of that syrupy othering so many Travel Photography fans and practitioners revel in. Despite having heard incredible stories of his travels in person they’re not diaristic or explicitly about his experience.
The photographs are now over twenty years old. I asked Arimoto if he had any idea about what to do with the photographs while he was in his early twenties walking along dirt roads on the Tibetan plains or living with families of beggar pilgrims in a temple in Kathmandu. Did you want to do a book? Have a show?
No, he told me. He took a breath. “I only wanted to make a photograph of the people there in front of me, at that moment. That’s all I thought about.”
Luckily, his teacher realized the quality of the images and encouraged him to submit the portfolio for the Taiyo Prize in 1999. He won. Encouraged, he approached publishers for a photobook. Amazingly, no one would touch the work. “Black and white doesn’t sell.”, “These are too old fashioned.”, “No one ever buys Taiyo Prize photo books”, he was told. The original published incarnation of his Tibet series, Portrait of Tibet, ended up being funded by his teacher. Today copies are exceedingly rare and coveted- with prices to match.
“I only wanted to make a photograph of the people there in front of me, at that moment.”
Those who don’t know the man (or his pictures) may scoff. In 2019 it’s easy to deny the nobility of his original sentiment or misunderstand its truth. The context of this statement- a desire founded in reality in the late 90s has a depth that our smartphone-addled, personal-branded, glowingly polished digital present can’t correctly process. You’re reading these words on a screen- Arimoto’s pictures deserve to be experienced on paper.
Who: Nobuyoshi Araki 荒木経惟
When: April 5 – May 22, 2019 (Open 1-7pm. Closed Mondays, Tuesdays)
For this APPortfolio project sculptor Keith Wong created an edition of ceramic three-trunked elephants based on Araki’s character Delon-kun, a creature that was part of a larger family of underground doodles Araki often drew in the 1970s. Each Delon-kun arrives glazed either white or brown in a wooden box and, since this is at its core about a particular photographer, comes with a signed original Araki polaroid. (A 3min video about the project is on youtube, here.)
The photographic exhibition in Harajuku itself is a continuation of the photographer’s current output of still lifes- the 6×7 color photos include recent compositions of the elephant sculptures with Araki’s other figures while the two hundred and six Polaroids exhibited are a mix of recent and vintage images.