In the beginning my interest in Japanese photography was focussed on modern photography of the 1920s and 1930s. This interest led to an 18 months stay as a research fellow at the German Institute for Japanese Studies (DIJ), Tokyo, at the end 1990s. During this stay I met many younger photographers and soon I became fascinated by the contemporary photography scene in Tokyo. Today I am going to Japan regularly and when I am there I try get as much information as possible about new developments in Japanese photography (photographers, publications, exhibitions, e.g.).
The photography scene in Japan is very vivid, especially in Kanto (Tokyo, Yokohama, Kawasaki area) and Kansai (Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe area) with most photographers living there, with several photography collections in museums, with very active curators, with many galleries and several photobook shops.
Even today the work of many Japanese photographers is not that well known outside Japan and just a part of the photography book production finds its way to a few specialized books stores in the West. Even the most interesting Japanese exhibitions don’t travel abroad and museum catalogues are virtually unavailable outside Japan. Moreover Japanese photography exhibitions are rarely reviewed or even recognized outside Japan.
With my blog Japan-Photo.info I hope to give some help to navigate through the complex and ever changing scene. My focus is at Japanese photography books – one remarkable characteristic of Japanese photography is the huge book production -, at information about Japanese photography exhibitions in- and outside Japan and single artists and their work.
As the director of Galerie Priska Pasquer I am in the favourable position to work with Japanese photographers and their photographs daily and to exhibit them at our gallery and to introduce their work at art fairs – just to name a few: Daido Moriyama, Eikoh Hosoe, Issei Suda, Rinko Kawauchi, Asako Narahashi or Mika Ninagawa.
PS: You can find my writings and lectures on Japanese photography here.
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Text: © Ferdinand Brueggemann
Images: © the photographers
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I meandered over from the bluehost.com forums, actually. Nice site!
Ich bin begeistert. Der Blog ist so dezent wie das Thema auch, und das Thema… seufz… einfach genial… Werd ich sicher noch mehrmals zurückkommen so schön und ruhig es hier ist.
I came across your site after reading it on Philbert’s site. Very impressive, and wonderful to introduce people to Japanese photography.
I’m a staff member of http://nipponster.com and I’m contacting you because we’re interested in helping Japan-related websites like yours (as part of our mission to organize and enhance the Japan-related content available online).
We’d like to work with you to help promote and enhance your site. We have tools and are developing tools to help you. All free of charge. Please let us know what you think and feel free to talk to us about it and any other ideas you may have.
Looking forward to hearing from you soon.
p.s. Nipponster.com is run by a group of foreign exchange and international students (current and former) studying at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan.
Martin Parr gave me your link with high reccomendations.
I have been collecting Japanese books off of Yahoo.jp since 2003 and have gotten most everything I have been looking for. But there are always those few things that you regret never getting, or bid to low on. So my question is do you have any things that you might be interested in trading?
And thanks for the interesting reading.
I am a, what most would call, a young photographer, however I think the term ‘a young person who is in love with photography’ would be a slightly more accurate description…I just wanted to write and say thank you for your writings. I am very interested in Japanese photography. After seeing Araki’s exhibition at the Barbican, London, and Kawauchi’s exhibition at The Photographer’s Gallery, London, I wanted to begin a journey into discorvering more than just the filteration brought to Europe (or the West) involving the contemplation of photography in Japan. Many Japanese photographers are already influencing my own thoughts and practical work in photography, and to discover depths of ‘what’ and ‘why’ this type of photography has such a inspirational and alluring effect on me is extremely exciting and, in terms of photography’s phenomenology, fantastic.
I will read your blog on Japanese photography with enthusiasm, so thank you for yours.
P.S. If you come to London for a symposium, please let me know!!
thank you for your kind words!
I don’t know when I will be in London next time. The last time I went there was for the opening of Rinko Kawauchi exhibition at Photographer’s Gallery. :-)
Thank you very much for dropping by!
I am concentrating mainly on recent Japanese photography books. Just when I started to look for older books a few years ago the prices exploded and I stopped moving into this direction. As a major photography book collector once told me: Since the anthologies about photobooks were published the prices for important Japanese books are going up 100 US$ every month.
PS: You got mail
I like japanese photography book very much.
i would like to express how delighted i am about your blog on japanese photography. i am reading it with great enthusiasm and your opinions on the subject matter are spot on. i am also very pleased to read the various comments from colleagues and fellow photographers. please keep up the good work.
i was wondering if you have ever published your writing on japanese photography? apart from an article in ‘european photography’ i couldn’t find much more. i am particularly interested in contemporary japanese photography by female artists. please let me know where to look.
if you ever come to london please let us know. with kind regards.
ps. ich bin wiesbadener.
With your interest in Japanese photographic books, I thought you might be interested in seeing the link to a beautiful Eikoh Hosoe/Baudelaire volume, in the event you have not seen it.
I’m biased, but I think you might find some likeminded people on http://www.asoboo.com. We have a decent size photography group of mostly people in Japan.
informative and interesting, I will continue to read look and learn .
I’ll link to my blog “Street Photography” and introduce about your blog.
Some of Japanese readers might be interested in reading you blog in Japanese. I’m pretty sure.
thank you for linking my blog.
You might be right about Japanese readers, but I think in Japan there are many sources on Japanese photography available and the people living in Kanto can see all the works in the galleries and museums anyway.
Also writing in Japanese would be much too difficult for me. I still remember vividly my private Japanese teacher I had in Tokyo scolding me (in Japanese of course): “Ferudinando-san, this evening you should not go to another exhibition opening! You’d better make your homework tonight.” :-)
Glad to hear from you back.
For us Japanese readers, we’re always interested in how the people outside Japan thinks Japanese photography, or what their ideas on that. So it’s worth to listen and to read those ideas through your blog. We have almost no opportunities to hear that. It might because the people in the Japanese photography field are not so open minded, or they won’t try to listen, I have no idea.
All we can get now is just an “information”. We need to hear more specific ideas on each photobook, photo show and so on. I believe you exactly know what they are.
So I really appreciate you to keep going.
I’m afraid it must be tough for writing both in English and Japanese at the same time. Probably your Japanese will be good enough.
So I’ll keep checking out your blog. And I’ll pick up the articles sometimes and introduce them in Japanese, in my blog.
I have to learn more about our own photography to do that, that’s my homework !
Good luck !!
your dedication to expose japanese photography is admirable! well done. & needless to say you have a wonderful site. I was in Yokohama last year & coming back to Tokyo in October & cant, cant,cant wait….. a great place to street Photography. well done, your site is very informative & i’ll be comming back & back….best Johnny
thank you very much for providing such a nice blog.
i would like to ask a question:
it seems that japanese people and photography have a much deeper bound with photography than other countries. what do you think are the reasons?
Genki?? Love the site, would love to work with you and share japanese photography with others and help contribute to your site as you see fit.
Nice work on this site!
It was nice to see you at aipad; next time in Germany…
I love your site; am missing your updates! Hope all’s well…
Thanks for this awsome site.
I´ve created a post about your website on my blog:
great source of information; thank you
Thanks for sharing your passion for Japanese photography with us. Stunning monochrome photography, love your selections.
[…] Sybren Kuiper, Joachim Schmid, Lieko Shiga, Alec Soth and Niels Stomps. Special lectures by Ferdinand Brueggemann »Contemporary Japanese Women Photographers«, Dr. Bettina Lockemann »European photographers’ […]
Hi. I am a, what most would call, a young photographer, however I think the term ‘a young person who is in love with photography’ would be a slightly more accurate description…I just wanted to write and say thank you for your writings. I am very interested in Japanese photography. After seeing Araki’s exhibition at the Barbican, London, and Kawauchi’s exhibition at The Photographer’s Gallery, London, I wanted to begin a journey into discorvering more than just the filteration brought to Europe (or the West) involving the contemplation of photography in Japan. Many Japanese photographers are already influencing my own thoughts and practical work in photography, and to discover depths of ‘what’ and ‘why’ this type of photography has such a inspirational and alluring effect on me is extremely exciting and, in terms of photography’s phenomenology, fantastic. I will read your blog on Japanese photography with enthusiasm, so thank you for yours. P.S. If you come to London for a symposium, please let me know!!
[…] can safely say that Kawauchi’s work not only fuels my love for the unique style that is Japanese photography but also for the form of the photobook in general. There is nothing quite like it. Buy her books […]
You missed Satomi Shirai.
Your site came up very high on google and I have been spending the last hour or so looking through your work. I am a picture editor originally from the journalism world who have just recently been introduced to the art scene. Together with a few Japanese curators and gallery owners, we are brainstorming as to what we can do for young, emerging Japanese fine art photographers. One idea that has popped up was a simple directory that links to their websites
We hope this would encourage young photographers to build their own website, include English in their profiles and be more forward about selling themselves outside of Japan.
The site is still three days old, but I’d love to know what you think.
Thank you for taking the time.