Thursday, March 06, 2008

Michael Reichmann in Tokyo

On February 27, Michael Reichmann of Luminous Landscape gave a seminar in Tokyo. This kind of thing is a rare opportunity in Japan---one can go to photography classes or seminars in Japanese which, unless you are a native speaker or very, very fluent, tends to be tough to follow for long periods of time---so I was very glad to attend even though it was in the middle of a workday.

At then end of the seminar, he asked the Japanese audience a question: "What's wrong with Japanese photography? " He went on to explain that he never saw or heard much about it. (The seminar was being translated into Japanese.) As one could expect, there was no reply.

I have wondered about that myself. Of course people see photographs by Japanese photographers all the time and most likely don't notice it, but it seems that there are few well-known Japanese photographers outside of Japan. I couldn't guess why this is, except that they don't get a lot of exposure outside the country because publishers and others don't really try to promote them overseas. There is also the idea that Japan is exotic and photographs should reflect that mythical exoticness. (The idea that Japan is just another country and is not all neon and weirdness disappoints many.)

I also notice that there are NOT many Japanese nature/wildlife photographers who do most of their photography in Japan as opposed to in Africa, Alaska, or other areas outside of Japan. There are fewer who publish those types of photos of Japan for some reason.

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