Japan

Miyako Ishiuchi receives Hasselblad Award

hasselblad-award2014-8Renowned Japanese photographer Miyako Ishiuchi has been named this year’s recipient of the prestigious Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography, accompanied by a sizable cash prize.

The award, given out each year to a photographer “recognized for major achievements”, is worth 1,000,000 Swedish Krona (about NZ$185,000) and was awarded to Ishiuchi at an award ceremony in Tokyo late last week.

The foundation says Ishiuchi was chosen for the award because over a career of 35 years her uncompromising vision has produced some of the most powerful and personal representations of postwar Japan.

“Ishiuchi’s work is extremely coherent and developing in a determined and distinctive way; using the camera and all of its aesthetic potential to investigate the intersection of the political and the personal aspects of memory Ishiuchi has been both a pioneer and a role model for younger artists, not least as a woman working in the male-dominated field of Japanese photography,” the foundation’s citation explains.

Ishiuchi joins a prestigious line up of photographers who have received the award since its inception in 1980, including Ansel Adams, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Richard Avedon, William Eggleston and Cindy Sherman.

Below is a selection of images from some of Ishiuchi’s notable series of works, including Yokosuka Story, in which she poetically captures the influence of American occupation on her hometown (ideas expanded upon in the following Apartment and Endless Night projects); 1•9•4•7 and Innocence, in which the artist re-invented her aesthetic with close-up images of the body; Mother’s, in which she documents items that have been in contact with her mother’s body; ひろしま/hiroshima, in which she examines the affect memorialising the atomic bombings has had on Japanese society; and Silken Dreams, studying the importance and impact of the silk industry in Japan.

01 YokosukaStory30

© Ishiuchi Miyako, Yokosuka Story#30

02 YokosukaStory98

© Ishiuchi Miyak, Yokosuka Story#98

03 Apartment50

© Ishiuchi Miyak, Apartment#50

04 EndlessNight71

© Ishiuchi Miyako, Endless Night#71

05 1947 16

© Ishiuchi Miyako, 1・9・4・7 #16

06 1947 49

© Ishiuchi Miyako, 1・9・4・7 #49

07 Innocence34

© Ishiuchi Miyako, Innocence #34

08 Innocence47

© Ishiuchi Miyako, Innocence #47

09 Mothers03

© Ishiuchi Miyako, Mother’s #3

11 Mothers52

© Ishiuchi Miyako, Mother’s #49

10 Mothers49

© Ishiuchi Miyako, Mother’s #52

12 hiroshima09

© Ishiuchi Miyako, ひろしま/hiroshima#9, donor: Ogawa, R

13 hiroshima71

© Ishiuchi Miyako, ひろしま/hiroshima#71

MIYAKO_6POS

© Ishiuchi Miyako, Silken Dreams #06

New Japan-inspired Lomo cams

The Lomographic Society International is releasing three new cameras with designs inspired by Japanese culture.

Originally conceived as a celebration of Japan’s Golden Week of public celebration, the cameras are now being used to help raise funds for the quake-hit nation.

The society it is in awe of the strength the Japanese people have shown in the face of disaster and encourages everyone to pitch in for the relief effort.

“After what happened, we decided to launch this edition but add a charity aspect to it to show respect and offer help to our Japanese friends.

Sales of the new range, comprising Diana Mini Jiyu (Freedom), Diana F+ Kirameki (Sparkling) and Fisheye 2 Shiawase (Happiness), will go towards a €20,000 (about NZ$) to Red Cross Relief Japan.

“The Red Cross will use the donation on site to make sure that our Japanese friends find some relieve and hope while we are involving our community in various online actions through our Lomography Loves Japan initiative.”

The society’s Tokyo-based members have also organised free workshops under the banner ‘Smile Everyone!’ to encourage people to stay busy, creative and happy during the difficult restoration period.

You can follow the Japanese Lomography chapter as they blog about life in post-quake Japan on the society’s website.

 

Leica wants you to help Japan

Camera manufacturer Leica is calling on its fans and customers to pitch in and help raise money for quake-stricken Japan.

The company, which has already donated 72 pairs of binoculars to rescue teams in the disaster area, has started an online drive to raise funds for the relief effort.

Donations to the Leica appeal fund can be made online through PayPal with all proceeds going to the Japanese Red Cross Society.

In a statement the company says the Japanese government estimates the cost of recovery for the nation will be in the area of €218 billion (about NZ$406 billion).

“The scenes of the terrible disaster in Japan have deeply moved us all.

“As is the case with many people around the world, we also feel a need to help the people of the region so badly hit by this catastrophe,” the company says.

With the March 11 quake having killed many and left many more homeless photographers from across the globe have also been coming together to help raise money for Japan.

Japanese photographer Yasuteru Kasano has pledged to donate all money from website sales of his independently published photography books to the aid effort.

Skye Hohmann, a photographer selling prints on her PhotoShelter website, is donating all proceeds from her print sales to the Japan relief effort through the Canadian Red Cross.

Photographer Wynn White is giving away prints in return for a website donation of US$50 or more in the Give Help, Get Art initiative.

A collection of photographers are auctioning photos at the Photos for Japan website to raise money to help fund organisations working on the relief effort.

X100 back in production

Production of FujiFilm’s FinePix X100 has resumed after unexpected global demand quickly dried up initial stocks.

Scarce availability during the early-March launch was made worse when the Japanese manufacturer’s Taiwa-Cho factory had to be closed after the March 11 quake struck.

FujiFilm has since announced that none of the factory staff had been seriously injured and production of the X100 has now resumed, with shipments expected to begin in early April.

The beautifully crafted compact did make it briefly to the New Zealand market on March 11 but most camera retailers reported selling out on the same day and are still waiting for replenished stock.

The FinePix X100 features an APS-C CMOS sensor, new EXR processor, 23mm F2 prime lens, ISO range of 200 to 6400 (boosted to 12800), ND filter and analogue-digital ‘Hybrid Viewfinder’ housed in a retro, rangefinder-esque chassis.

When stock does trickle back to our shores the FinePix X100 will have a recommended price tag of $2199 (though most retailers were putting it out for around $1700 the first time around).

 

Japan’s aftermath

Immersed in the surreal and tragic images of tsunami-hit Japan, headlines ringing with nuclear warnings, the world slowly begins to take stock of the damage.

For the imaging industry this has meant the closure of two major manufacturing plants, one Canon the other Nikon, after employee injury and structural damage in last week’s quake.

Canon has confirmed that 15 employees sustained injuries at its Utsunomiya plant, which is responsible for a large portion of the company’s lens production, with operations suspended indefinitely.

Nikon experienced similar disruption at its Sendai plant where an unspecified number of employees, working on the company’s professional DSLR models, were injured and the plant shut down.

Despite these blows both companies have pledged large sums towards the country’s relief effort.

Canon has pledged 300 million Yen (about NZ$5.8 million) and Nikon is making a cash donation of 100 million Yen (about NZ$1.69 million) to the Japanese Red Cross.

Update: Panasonic has also reported staff injuries in one of its its digital camera manufacturing plants, as well electronic materials and washer and dryer factories, ceasing opperations in one unspecified location.

The company has pledged 300 million Yen (about NZ$5.8 million) along with 10,000 radios and flashlights, 500,000 dry batteries and 4000 solar LED lanterns to the recovery effort.

On a smaller but no less generous scale, Japanese photographer Yasuteru Kasano has pledged to donate all money from sales of his independently published photography books to the aid effort.

You can view and purchase Kasano’s work at his website.

Update: Skye Hohmann, a photographer selling prints on image hosting website PhotoShelter, is donating all proceeds from her print sales to the Japan relief effort through the Canadian Red Cross.

You can view the photos and order prints at the artist’s website.

Putting the terrible sweep of damage in perspective is no easy task, but Google Earth and Maps team along with mapping company GeoEye have done their best.

The team has provided a KML file that can be uploaded to Google Earth in order to digitally survey the affected area, or a series of before-and-after shots can be accessed in this Picsa album.

The D-Photo team’s thoughts certainly go out to the nation, if our readers are aware of any other photography projects seeking to help the relief effort please let us know.

X100 makes it (briefly) to NZ

Despite reported production shortages, Fujifilm’s beautiful FinePix X100 has arrived in New Zealand today and is already selling out.

The retro-inspired 12.3 megapixel compact, which we detailed previously, ships with a recommended price tag of $2199, though the select photo retailers who received the first shipment are pushing it at around $1699.

In a statement posted earlier this week Fujifilm Japan announced initial global orders of the X100 would be delayed due to unforseen demand.

Fujifilm New Zealand’s electronic imaging manager Jonathan Higgins says that stock supply has not yet been an issue locally, with the local shipment having arrived today.

Photography retailers around the country, however, are already reporting selling out of their initial supplies just hours after receiving them.

Fujifilm Japan says production has been urgently increased in order to fill demand for the new camera as quickly as possible.

The FinePix X100 features an APS-C CMOS sensor, new EXR processor, 23mm F2 prime lens, ISO range of 200 to 6400 (boosted to 12800), ND filter and ‘Hybrid Viewfinder’.

The solid hardware is housed in a wonderfully designed rangefinder-esque chassis, with a textured black body sandwiched between glossy silver base and control top.

If you know of any retailers who still have units up for grabs let your fellow photographers know in the comments.

New Nikon Boss Named

Nikon’s head office has named a new president, with the current head of camera operations Makoto Kimura replacing Michio Kariya in the top job next June.

Kimura, who joined Nikon as an engineer in 1974, was one of the key players in Nikon’s success in making the transition from analogue to one of the most successful manufacturers of high-end digital cameras.

“He is going to be Nikon’s first top executive with expertise in both technology and marketing,” said Kariya according to Reuters, referring to Kimura’s experience as both an engineer and a marketer of cameras.

Regardless of his expertise, Kimura told a news conference in Tokyo the outlook for Nikon digital cameras was a bit grim: “Nikon’s imaging business has been expanding quite steadily over the past 10 years. But can it enjoy the same stable growth for the next 10 years? The answer is no.”

Weirdly, Nikon stocks closed 0.8 per cent lower after his announcement.

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