Interesting Photo Exhibit

Good morning everyone,

Now...this kind of rainy season weather I can handle...ha ha! Yesterday started out cloudy and then cleared up and it's going to be sunny all day today and tomorrow is looking cloudy. We may see some rain on Thursday, but it'll clear up again on Friday and Saturday. Highs all week will be around 29C.

If you know me at all, you'll know that I'm not a big museum guy. I like love history museums, but art museums...meh...I can take them or leave them. Sometimes though, I'll see exhibitions that might interest me and this is one of them.

Cichu Chinese primary school (now: Confucian Shrine), Oura-machi, 1963 ©Shomei Tomomatsu INTERFACE

Over a period of fifty years, Shomei Tomatsu (1930-2012), one of post-war Japan’s foremost photographers, continued to photograph Nagasaki. In the current exhibition here in Hiroshima, the museum is showing some 350 works that trace the recovery of the city after the dropping of the atomic bomb, with a particular focus on its history and cultural climate.

Born in Nagoya, Tomatsu moved to Tokyo after graduating from Aichi University and became a staffer at Iwanami Shashin Bunko, a photo magazine. After a few years he went freelance, and in 1959 he founded the photographic cooperative VIVO together with Ikko Narahara, Eikoh Hosoe and others. He developed a unique expressive style by keenly observing society, strongly influencing the next-generation of photographers, including Takuma Nakahira and Daido Moriyama.

Tomatsu first visited Nagasaki to take photographs in 1961, publishing in collaboration with Ken Domon Hiroshima-Nagasaki Document 1961. He was greatly shocked by the depth of the scars left by the atomic bombing and the suffering of the victims and returned to Nagasaki numerous times, culminating in the publication in 1966 of 11:02 Nagasaki. At the same time, prompted by his experience over many years of photographing US military bases in Japan, he traveled to Okinawa and photographed around the islands of Okinawa and in various locations in Southeast Asia, resulting in the publication of one of his most important works, Pencil of the Sun (1975). It was during this period that his work transitioned from black and white to color.

In 1998 Tomatsu moved to Nagasaki, exploring the region on foot and capturing on multiple levels the expressive townscapes with their diverse histories and cultures, nature, the humorous mannerisms of people and animals, and the festivals that symbolize Nagasaki. His works include both black-and-white and color photos and each type shows a very different style. If you're at all interested in photography, it might be worth swinging by the Hiroshima City Museum of Contemporary Art. The show runs through July 18th and costs Y1,030 for adults. I know I will be for sure.

Have a great day!

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