Thursday, August 10, 2006

Critiques on RFF & Japanese Photographers

Sorry for the absence. I've been somewhat busy over on RFF setting up the new critique forum. If you aren't a member, or if you are and haven't participated in a critique, you should give the critiques a try. It really is a blast, and educational to boot.

I've been shooting, primarily with my M4-P and the CV 35/2.5. I have 15 rolls of b&w in the processing queue, and about 3 rolls of color. I won't have the b&w processed for at least a couple of weeks, but the color I hope to have ready to scan by tomorrow evening.

I've found myself exploring Japanese photographers. A recent visit to the San Francisco MOMA resulted in a ~$80 purchase of two books. Daido Moriyama's Stray Dog, and Nobuyoshi Araki's Subway Love. I also broke free during lunch today to see the Shomei Tomatsu's Skin of a Nation exhibit at the SF MOMA. I was very impressed with the show. So, I'm getting a pretty good education on some established Japanese photographers, who I had very little familiarity with. If any of you would care to recommend others, please drop me a comment, or an e-mail.

As much as I love the Moriyama book, it's the Araki book that has me curious. I can't help comparing Subway Love to Walker Evan's Many Are Called. It's a fun comparison of basically the same project. Both books deal with photographing unaware subway riders over an extended period of time.

The Evans' book is a careful study, the result of ideology and thought. From all reports Evans' culled the best images based on exposure, and framing, cropping them for presentation. Araki on the other hand is much different. First of all, he gives you EVERYTHING, every shot regardless of how well it presents. It's a wild presentation full of blurred images, under-exposed and over-exposed shots, contact sheets, sprocket holes, etc. It's an expressionistic portrayal of life on the subway. It may be driven by an ideology as serious a Evans', but the end result looks much different.

I don't know the plans for the Tomatsu show after it leaves the SF MOMA after Sunday August 13. If it comes to your city check it out. The SF MOMA has a book that accompanies the show. I may end up getting the book, but viewing it at the MOMA, immediately after the show, I was unimpressed. His images are so stunning that the layout of the book and image quality paled in comparison.

I hope to have some images by the weekend, so check back if you get a chance. I hope you're enjoying the summer, if you're in the northern hemisphere, and the winter if your south of the equator.