Photography is about looking out on the world through a little window in a little box, and then capturing moments. When a landscape captivates us, or a fleeting moment seizes our emotions and elicits laughter or tears, photographers peer out of their little windows, press their shutter releases and capture those emotions as photos. It’s like slicing through time, excising moments like sheets of paper to tell a story that no words can relate. Family snaps from birth, school events, fashion glimpsed in magazines, teen nights fooling around with your buddies. Photos have always been an indispensable part of our lives. And when we take leave of this world, we continue to exist only in memories in the hearts of others, and in photos. How do you set a value on such photos? There are good photos and bad photos, and this is not just a matter of angle or lighting. What we mean by a good photo tends to change over time, particularly in the world of fashion. Each age has its own face, and photography has leaned this way and that with the ages. So how about today’s fashion photography? Photographers in their forties would have grown up leafing through magazines, while those in their twenties would have used digital technology since their earliest recollections. Those in their forties would have scrabbled desperately among limited resources to learn from the photos that made their era, while those in their twenties would have grown up inundated with images. Presented with the same photo, would we attach the same value to it? If not, how should we look at photos today? Wouldn’t it be interesting to see what kind of stories emerge when, presented with the same theme, photographers of different generations look through their little windows to capture its moments?
We asked three photographers, leading lights of their respective twenties, thirties and forties generations, to tackle the same theme and create and exhibit whatever fashion photos take their whim, free of client and other constraints. Hopefully their works will provide today’s upcoming generation with a glimpse into the value and future of fashion photography, an art form whose meaning has changed dramatically with the explosive growth of social media.
Kunichi Nomura Born in 1973 in Tokyo, Nomura started traveling the world while still a student at Keio University’s Faculty of Policy Management. He made a name for himself with the publication of sputnik: whole life catalogue, a work that borrowed heavily from the experiences he gained exploring over 50 countries around the world. He now wears many different hats, including radio show host, corporate branding consultant, magazine planner and editor, writer, art director and artist, shop designer, and even film actor. He avoids any work he doesn’t enjoy, and says that as he works, he’s constantly thinking about how to get as many people as possible interested in the things that interest him.
Taro Mizutani Born in 1975 in Tokyo, Mizutani has worked mainly as a fashion and commercial photographer since graduating from Tokyo Polytechnic University’s Faculty of Arts. He has also held many exhibitions of his works. In 2013, he planned a joint photo exhibition titled Ryuko Shashin (literally “Fashion Photos”). In November of the same year, he held a solo exhibition titled New Journal at Gallery 916. Since 2015, he has co-authored STILL SCAPE with Tetsuya Nagato, and has participated in KG+2016, a satellite event of KYOTOGRAPHIE Kyoto International Photography Festival. His works include Here Comes The Blues (2012) and STILL SCAPE (2015). When his UNDERCOVER photo book Chaos/Balance was published in 2017, he exhibited at BOOKMARC TOKYO as a launch event.
Jiro Konami Born in 1986. Photographer. Konami trained his camera on his father for eight years since launching his photography career, and was awarded the Fuji Photo Salon New Face Prize 2010 for the photos he took that exquisitely encapsulated both the distance and affection between parent and child. He earned further acclaim with photo albums such as Looking at my Father (2013), Personal Memory (2014), PARADAISE TOKYO (2015), GIMATAI (2017), Straight, No Chaser (2018) and SCARS (2018). Major solo exhibitions include G/PFRONT LINE SHOW “complex and more” (Spiral Garden, 2011), UK-Curtain Call (Konica Minolta Plaza, 2012) Looking at my Father (Fujifilm Photo Salon 2013), GIMATAI (Bookmarc, 2016) and SCARS (Common Gallery, 2018). He has also participated in many group exhibitions. He photographs commercially for many fashion brands, magazines, advertisements, and for musicians and other artists. He has based himself in New York since 2017, and his works have appeared in the New York Times, Interview, and other overseas media.
Masumi Ishida Born in 1998, Ishida held her first solo exhibition, GINGER ALE, in Gallery ROCKET in May 2017. Light Years, her first photo album, was published by TISSUE PAPERS in February 2018. Her solo exhibitions to date are Light Years (QUIET NOISE arts and break, February 2018), Evening Shower (QUIET NOISE arts and break, February 2019) and Yurete, Kagayaite, Yagate Kiete (“Swaying, Sparkling, and Eventually Disappearing”) (Haku Gallery, Kyoto, March 2019). Following publication of her photo book, she has worked under commission for magazines including GINZA, SPUR, Soen, MiLKJAPON, SWITCH, POPEYE, and RiCE. She is active in many other fields, handling still photography for film and TV drama productions, and photographing for ad campaigns such as Club Mate, the 2018 summer ad campaign for Otsuka Pharmaceutical’s Calorie Mate, and the graduation ad for Softbank’s 2019 Shibarareruna (“Don’t Be Tied Down”) series.
Toshiko Nakajima Born in Tokyo. After a mid-career move to Magazine House, Nakajima helped edit magazines such Brutus, Tarzan, Relax, and Custom before becoming chief editor of GINZA from its May 2011 issue. After editing GINZA for seven years, she left Magazine House at the end of June 2018 and is now active as a freelance producer and editor.
Noriteru Minezaki Art director. Born in Hakone in 1976. After graduating from Kuwasawa Design School, Minezaki trained for 5 years under Yasushi Fujimoto of CAP. After leaving CAP, he moved to Hollywood. On returning to Japan, he launched ((STUDIO)) with partner Kosuke Shuno, and started doing the art design for Spectator (Japanese culture magazine published three times a year) In addition to art direction and artwork for magazines and photo albums, he is also involved in package design and other fields.
LOOKIN THROUGH THE WINDOW
Dates : July 20 (Sat) – August 30 (Fri), 2019
Time: 11:00 – 20:00
Venue: GYRE GALLERY, GYRE 3F, 5-10-1 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
Exhibition planning: Kunichi Nomura
Participating artists: Taro Mizutani, Jiro Konami, Masumi Ishida
Planning: Toshiko Nakajima
Art direction： Noriteru Minezaki
Cooperation: HiRAO INC, Tokyo Color Kogei-Sha, Frameman Co., Ltd., TOKYO Lithmatic Corporation