In November, Nikon Salon announced that Kenshichi Heshiki* and Yasushi Nishimura were the 2008 winners of their annual Ina Nobuo and Miki Jun prizes, respectively.
The gallery, which since opening in 1968 has been instrumental in furthering the career of many a famous Japanese photographer, established the Ina Nobuo Award in 1976. The winner is chosen from amongst all the exhibitions held at the gallery in a given calendar year (October – September). The award is named for photography critic Nobuo Ina (1898-1978), the famed photography critic who headed Nikon Salon for its first 10 years of existence. Past winners have included Masahisa Fukase, Hiromi Tsuchida, and Hiroh Kikai (a full list of winners is at the bottom of this page). The winner receives a cash prize (this year, ¥1,000,000) as well as Nikon camera equipment.
This year’s 33rd annual Ina Nobuo Award winner Heshiki is a 60-year old photographer born in Nakijin, a village on Okinawa Island. His exhibition entitled 山羊の肺 沖縄1968-2005年 (Lungs of a Goat — Okinawa 1968-2005) — which was held at the Nikon Salon in Ginza in May of this year — brought together roughly 90 images showcasing nearly 40 years of work focused on the everyday lives of Okinawa’s citizens.
The Miki Jun Award was established in 1998 in commemoration of the gallery’s 30th anniversary, and is given to a photographer under 35 years old and is chosen from among artists exhibited at Nikon Salon’s Juna21 gallery space. The prize is named after the photo journalist Jun Miki (1919-1992), one-time pupil of Ken Domon who worked for Life Magazine and other photo news magazines after the war, and was later president of the Nikkor Club. Renowned first and foremost for his photo reportage, Miki also played an accidental but important role in establishing the worldwide reputation of Nikkor lenses.
This year’s winner was Yasushi Nishimura for his exhibition entitled 彼女のタイトル (Her Title), a depiction of a young and troubled young woman’s life over a year and a half period. The 26 year old Nishimura is a member of the Photographer’s Gallery collective.
Since 2003, as part of the Miki Jun Award, Nikon Salon also gives out two “Inspiration Awards”. This year’s winners were 23-year old Hatsumi Matsushita for her series of amusing self-portraits, and Kaori Inbe, a 28-year old Tokyo-based photographer, for her ironically entitled exhibition “Moral Society”. You can view online galleries of the three Miki Jun winners at Nikon’s “Independents” site. (Click on the second “Enter” button on that page. The prize winners are galleries #28 (Nishimura), #31 (Matsushita), and #27 (Inbe). For some reason, the site only works with Internet Explorer for me).
Nikon Salon will re-mount each of the five winning exhibitions in December and January at their Shinjuku and Osaka salons. See this page for details.
* Please note that Heshiki’s surname is also romanized as Hirashiki on some Nikon Salon web pages.