Tag Archives: Michio Yamauchi

Michio Yamauchi — from “Tokyo 2009.12”

Michio Yamauchi was born in 1950 in Nishimikawa, Aichi Prefecture. After graduating from Waseda University, he attended Tokyo College of Photography. He has been exhibiting his works in independent galleries since 1980. A winner in 1997 of Nikon’s Ina Nobuo Award, Yamauchi has in the last 20 years published over 10 books of his work.

The above photo comes from Yamauchi’s new exhibition entitled “Tokyo 2009.12” which begins this Friday May 14 at Tokyo’s Third District Gallery (running until May 25). Approximately 50 works will be on view. On May 22 at 7p.m. at the gallery, Yamauchi will have a “teach-in” with photographer Seiji Kurata (Flash Up, 80’s Family: Street Photo Random Japan). If you’re interested in attending (Â¥1,000, one drink included), space is limited to 30 people (send an email to the gallery at info@3rddg.com).

Shinji Abe – From Tokyo

Shinji Abe is a young, 26-year old photographer who was born in Saitama Prefecture, and who graduated from Tokyo Visual Arts professional school in 2008. He has no online presence, nor a home PC for that matter, but I was fortunate to meet him at the Third District Gallery in Tokyo’s Shinjuku Ward last December on the occasion of his exhibition there entitled Tokyo. It is perhaps a cliché to say that Abe is nothing like the person we’d expect to meet based on his photography, but nevertheless that was the impression I had when I discovered that the unassuming, reserved man sitting in the gallery was Abe himself.

When I asked Abe if he was a fan of Michio Yamauchi it was no surprise to hear a resounding yes, even as he was clearly embarrassed to be mentioned in the same breath as one of the masters of the street photography genre — and another modest, humble person with a demeanor quite at odds with the photography he produces. Abe acknowledged that he has a long way to go before he can get out from under that shadow, but he remains firmly committed to continuing to ply his trade on the streets, even as he noted ruefully that it is getting harder and harder to do so in a world increasingly suspicious of strangers taking pictures of other strangers.

Please also see our special gallery of Shinji Abe’s work.

UPDATE: a slide show with more photos from the exhibition is available on the Third District Gallery web site. [Click on the top postcard image; thanks to Aya Takada]

Shinji Abe Gallery

Japan Exposures is pleased to present the work of Shinji Abe, who at 26 is one of the youngest — if not the youngest — photographers we’ve featured. It may come as something of a surprise to readers of this website, but Abe is one of a rather sizable group of young photographers who not only embrace film, the darkroom, and the vagaries of the street as their subject, but who also don’t have an online presence. In Abe’s case, he doesn’t even have a personal computer. Whether by design or happenstance, this makes Abe the ideal type of photographer we hope to feature even more on Japan Exposures as we begin 2010 — young, up and coming, and to borrow a phrase coined by noted street photographer Nick Turpin, “virtually invisible”.

When offline is becoming the new online, then the street is the new stage where the workings of at least some of Japan’s society are laid bare to be examined by a sharp and scrutinising eye such as Abe’s. Similar to photographers like Haruto Hoshi (featured previously on Japan Exposures), Abe bids a final farewell to the quaint snap of the old masters like Ihei Kimura and meets contemporary Tokyo in the streets of central Tokyo head on. These are not street photos showing amusing juxtapositions featuring people going about their daily lives. Abe’s photos have a delightful unnerving intensity and unrest, full of energy and vibrancy of life, yet despite their visual power they never appear confrontational or provocative for the sake of it. The images are a revelation of how much street photography in the civilised Japanese metropolis still has to offer. Radical, essential and absolutely inspirational.

Please also see our Cover Photo featuring Abe’s work.

UPDATE: a slide show with more photos from the exhibition is available on the Third District Gallery web site. [Click on the top postcard image; thanks to Aya Takada]

New limited supply titles in bookstore

4books102809 I‘m sure some will accuse me of stoking the panic fire of “order now or regret later”, but I’m going to use that gambit here because with all four books I’m introducing in this post, we’re talking of items where the stock is very low and basically, once they’re gone, they are gone. Two of them are over 10 years old, one is gone from shops in Japan, and one is a catalog published earlier this year that we have in limited supply.

A couple of weeks ago I saw the Michael Kenna book discussed below pop up on eBay for $150 (it has since come down to something more reasonable), and it made me realize that more people need to know about the fact that we are carrying some of these titles that — even after shipping is factored in — are very reasonably priced. But beyond saving money or grabbing a collectible before the price shoots up, all four below are books well worth having for what we’re hopefully all here for, the photography. I have to confess, our stock on each is one copy less because I had to grab a copy of all four for myself!

Ikko Narahara, Fifteen Thousand Nights

Ikko Narahara, Fifteen Thousand Nights Published in 1994 by Mole, this is a slim, wonderfully printed, 20-page book collecting work done over the course of Ikko Narahara’s career up to then (1958 – 1990), bound together by the fact that all the photos in the book were taken at night. Has a brief afterword by Narahara in English. Published 15 years ago, but these are brand NEW copies that look like they came off the press yesterday.

Michael Kenna, In Hokkaido (Update: Sold Out!)

Michael Kenna, In Hokkaido This new publication produced to coincide with Michael Kenna’s exhibition at the Kushiro Art Museum in Hokkaido brings together 50 photographs of Michael Kenna’s growing body of work produced in Hokkaido over the last 7 years, including several photos taken earlier this year. Afterword by Daido Moriyama (available in English). This was published in August in a print run of 1,200 copies. There may be a 2nd printing later this year, but no confirmation on that. (Communication with this publisher leaves something to be desired, to be honest.)

To be sure, we are not the only place you can get this title, but I dare say you’ll be hard-pressed to find it for cheaper than the approximate $55 we’ve got it for.

Michio Yamauchi, Street Cats (Update: Sold Out!)

Michio Yamauchi, Street Cats This was published as part of the “Mole Unit” series of small, magazine like publications issued by Mole during the 1990s that featured Osamu Kanemura, Mitsugu Onishi, Akihide Tamura among others. This particular issue is No. 8 and was published in 1999. Cats are a well-worn subject for any Japanese photographer from your Lomo enthusiast to Araki, but very few will present them the way that Yamauchi does. Along with Hong Kong (1997), this now represents perhaps the hardest Yamauchi to find for those completists (like myself!) who can never get enough Yamauchi.

Yasuhiro Ishimoto, multi exposure Exhibition Catalogue

Yasuhiro Ishimoto, multi exposure exhibition catalog This is a beautifully-produced exhibition catalog for an exhibition of Yasuhiro Ishimoto’s multiple exposure work that was held at the Musashino Art University Museum & Library in May-June, 2009. The work is presented in a wonderful accordian style of connected pages (see the photos in the bookstore), and includes a booklet with three essays (in both Japanese and English) on Ishimoto’s work and career. Irrespective of the photography and peoples’ taste in that regard, this Ishimoto catalog will I think appeal to book lovers the most out of the four presented here (with the possible exception of the Kenna). I have a few books done in this accordian style (Masato Seto’s The Living Room and a wonderful facsimile book of Hiroshige prints done by the Metropolitan Museum of Art are two I treasure) and it really is a wonderful way to look at the work, and not nearly as inconvenient as it might seem at first glance. The inclusion of three different essays on Ishimoto’s career in English translation, including a nice overview of his time in Chicago, is icing on the cake.

Yamauchi’s Hito e now in stock

Michio Yamauchi's hito e
We now have in stock several signed copies of Michio Yamauchi’s 人へ (hito e, or loosely translated as “to others”). Published in 1992, this is, like all of Yamauchi’s work, a very much in-your-face book, but perhaps even more so this time, as the majority of the book’s pages are taken up with faces. But these are far from portraits or posed shots. More often than not, the subjects Yamauchi’s trains his lens on are oblivious to anything other than their immediate concerns.

Almost all the photos were taken in the second half of the 80’s, a time corresponding to the “bubble economy” of a seemingly rich and affluent Japan. On the ground, in the streets, one suspects things weren’t quite so rosy and not everyone felt the trickle down from the upper classes. Yamauchi’s book proves that behind the booming hype, things looked very different.

Yamauchi has maintained his aggressive style up to the present day, as his recent Tokyo 2005 – 2007 (also available in the bookstore signed) shows.