Wide angle

Self-portraits as brides. 🖋

When wedding rhymes with Japanese photography

by Charlene Veillon
Reading time ⏰ 13 min 57

In Japan, as elsewhere in the world, people get married! And as elsewhere in the world, we immortalize this great moment in the life of a couple with a photo shoot. But the deep meaning of traditional Japanese marriage sometimes clashes with our modern life, inspiring photographers – especially women – to create a scene in the form of self-portraits of brides. Kimiko Yoshida or Tomoko Sawada have each produced several photographic series entirely dedicated to the theme of the Japanese bride. Between parody, denunciation of stereotypes and gesture of rebellion, let's see how these images question us about the "Japanese wedding".


ill.1 – The Cherry Blossom Bride. Self-portrait, 2006 by Kimiko Yoshida ©Kimiko Yoshida

ill.2 – single brides by Kimiko Yoshida: The Widowed Bride. Self-portrait, 2001 ©Kimiko Yoshida

ill.3 – Omiai (30 works), 2006 © Tomoko Sawada

Fig.4 – Thirty Works: Bridle, 2008 © Tomoko Sawada

Fig.5 – Bear & Rabbit wedding, 2018, © TSUKAO (Instagram – bear_n_rabbit)




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Small Planet 🖋

Small Planet, when photography shows the world in miniature!

written by Sophie Cavaliero and read by Charlène Veillon
Reading time ⏰ 9 min 10

On the occasion of the exhibition “(Un)real utopia” by Naoki Honjo at Top Museum, the museum of photography in Tokyo, we are going to interest you in our article in a particular photographic process: the tilt shift. This process, used by Naoki Honjo, transforms photographs of a real landscape into an artificial miniature landscape photograph, the real world becoming a dummy world, where men are transformed into figurines, cars, toys and buildings, in model decorations.


Photo 1 – “[ small planet ] Tokyo, Japan” (2006) © Naoki Honjo

Photo 2 – “JP-02 15” 2012 ©TAIJI MATSUE / Courtesy of TARO NASU

Photo 3 – San Francisco – MAY. - SEP. 2016 – LIGHT JET PRINT/ 1700×2560 MM ©SOHEI NISHINO

Photo 4 – small planet / Tokyo, Japan / 2005 © Naoki Honjo

Picture 5 – https://miniature-calendar.com/200728 © Tanaka Tatsuya


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Photography and disaster 🖋

Representations post-March 11, 2011

by Charlene Veillon
Reading time ⏰

30 minutes

To listen to the reading of this article

On March 11, 2011, Japan experienced one of the worst disasters in its history, combining earthquake, tsunami and nuclear accident. The same day, almost simultaneously, we all – Japanese and foreigners – watched helplessly as a flood of apocalyptic images, broadcast in a loop on television screens or on the Internet.
In the days following the disaster and until today a decade later, many artists have felt the need to go there to then attest through their creation to the reality of the unimaginable. Everyone wanted to make their work an "echo" of the disaster and its consequences, without however knowing how to go about it. Because in such a situation, nothing seems adequate, nothing can console...
What power can art, and more particularly photography, have in the face of such an economic, ecological and human disaster? When and how did Japanese photography first confront the challenge of representing disaster? Let's see what answers photographers of the XNUMXst century have been able to provide to the question of the potential of art in the face of catastrophe.


ill.1 – Naoya Hatakeyama, Rikuzentakata / Takata-cho 2011.5.2, 2011 C-print © Naoya Hatakeyama

ill.2 – Takahiro Yamashita, series Iwaki, Fukushima, 20/03/2011 © Takahiro Yamashita

ill.3 – Yuki Iwanami, Threads in the dark © Yuki Iwanami

ill.4 – Yoi Kawakubo, If the Radiance of a Thousand Suns were to Burst at once into the Sky I, 2016, unexposed color photographic film buried under soil in radioactive location © Yoi Kawakubo


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Kai Fusayoshi, In Honyaradō – Chibi, 1977-80 © Kai Fusayoshi
Kai Fusayoshi, milk time, 1976 © Kai Fusayoshi
Kai Fusayoshi, From the top of the watchtower, 1976© Kai Fusayoshi
Kai Fusayoshi, Where do I sit?, 1978© Kai Fusayoshi

Kai Fusayoshi: Cat Map of Kyoto

by Cécile Laly (article taken from the book Neko Project published by iKi)
Reading time ⏰

30 minutes

Before the first neko cafes (cat bars) did not officially appear under this name in the 2000s, Honyarado, a Kyoto restaurant that was the gathering place for the city's protesting youth in the 1970s, was already unwittingly trying out the concept.

To conclude, note that Kai did not limit himself to photographing the stray cats of Kyoto. He has also photographed them in other cities in Japan, such as Nagasaki, and abroad, for example in Portugal in Porto and Belmont, in India in Calcutta, Cochin and Mattancherry, or in Amsterdam. Unconsciously looking for cats everywhere he travels, he realized that the cities in which there were many stray cats were cities where the houses were old and where it was good to live. So it would seem that the next time you move, you should ask our feline friends for advice on choosing your neighborhood.


To go further in the discovery of Kai Fusayoshi and his universe, do not hesitate to consult his site by clicking here

Kai Fusayoshi, Cat in Honyaradō, 1976-77 © Kai Fusayoshi

Kai Fusayoshi, Izumojikagurachō District, 1976 © Kai Fusayoshi

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Self-portraits of what is no longer… or almost!

by Charlene Veillon
Reading time ⏰

20 minutes

« Everything that is not me interests me. » 

These were the first words of Japanese photographer Kimiko Yoshida when we met.1. Declaration beforehand surprising in view of his work essentially consisting of self-portraits! We therefore understand that the narcissistic representation of her figure is not the aesthetic challenge of Kimiko Yoshida's work.

Since his very first series of self-portraits started in 2001, the artist has actually sought to disappear from the image by using various artifices. Beyond a reflection on the vanity of self-representation, the photographer meditates more broadly on the vanity of images which, by definition, can only show an absence: a snapshot can only capture an image of the subject and not the same subject...


© Kimiko Yoshida
Courtesy Heritage Paco Rabanne

ill.1 (white background)

Kimiko Yoshida, Painting (Marquise de Pompadour by François Boucher). Self-Portrait, 2010.

ill.2 (black background)

Kimiko Yoshida, Painting (Judith of Cranach the Elder). Self-Portrait, 2010.


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PROVOKE the effervescence

by Sophie Cavaliero and Valérie Douniaux (article written for artpress N°437)
Reading time ⏰

30 minutes

Evoke the adventure of the magazine Provoke requires the Western reader to go well beyond a classic "passive" reading, the discovery of Japanese photographic production having been made in France in an obvious chronological disorder, according to the exchanges, exhibitions or publications that have reached ours. It then seemed vital to restore the event in its political, social and economic context before contextualizing it in an artistic period beginning in the 1950s.

Japan experienced a strong economic and industrial boom during the 1960s. In the field of photography, the production of equipment developed and, with it, the practice, both professional and amateur. Japanese brands made themselves known abroad: Canon, which launched its first SLR on the market at the start of the 1960s; Nikon, from the Korean War, through international reporters based in Tōkyō, or thanks to its partnership with NASA during the epic of the conquest of the moon. The Japanese photographic scene was also dominated at that time by photojournalism with emblematic figures such as Ken Domon, Ihei Kimura or Yōnosuke Natori.

Let us end by emphasizing that the members of Provoke and its predecessor Vivo were not the only ones to energize Japanese photography of their time, and we can also cite the Konpora movement (Contemporary Photography), placing themselves at the opposite of Provoke, with photographers adept at the "banality" and "neutrality" of images, such as Kiyoshi Suzuki, Shigeo Gochō, and Masahisa Fukase, who are all enjoying renewed attention today.
Nevertheless, the historical importance of Provoke magazine remains undeniable, all the more evident with the passage of time. Provoke still fascinates and inspires the younger generation of photographers today.

NB of authors

This article is taken from artpress magazine n°437 – October 2016 in reference to the exhibition BETWEEN CONTESTATION AND PERFORMANCE – PHOTOGRAPHY IN JAPAN 1960-1975, presented at the BAL in the fall of 2016, provides clear evidence of this.

To know more about this exhibition: click here

Otherwise do not hesitate to watch the video of the BAL

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