Reaching for the peak

I just returned from attending the 2018 installment of the Mt.Rokko International Photography Festival, my sixth visit as a portfolio reviewer and also to present projects and run a workshop. I join many professional colleagues from the wider photography industry from across the globe as an invited guest with the main purpose – that is, to nurture young and upcoming Japanese photographers create more meaningful projects, strengthen their ability to project a strong story through their picture taking craft, which no doubt, all of them already have brewing inside them.

[ Also link to same post in Japanese at http://www.rokkophotofestival.com ]

The festival, headed by its visionary director Takeki Sugiyama, a surgeon by profession, and totally passionate for the ‘meaning behind every photograph’, who is also an avid collector himself, is run with typical Japanese efficiency when it comes to scheduling and timekeeping, and a certain familiarity that is unique to Mt.Rokko. The volunteer team and staff already feel like family after the very first visit.

Photos by Melanie McWhorter & Chikara Komura

Held partly in downtown Kobe for the exhibitions and having the reviews in close-quarter up at Mt.Rokko, makes for an interesting long weekend for the guests and photographers, but slightly inconvenient for day visitors wanting to participate in the workshops or presentations. However, I feel that this arrangement is already being addressed over the last two years to make the festival more accommodating.

Over the years in coming to Kobe, I have gained many connections and friends in the photography world, and have also opened my eyes to contemporary Japanese photography – it’s highly aesthetic based imagery, and the very important link to nature, family and tradition. I speak of course in general terms, and there are photographers who also make non-conformist projects that surprise.

2013.L1000362

For Mt.Rokko, I believe that it has steadily gained the reputation of being a tight-knit photo community, and being a ‘portfolio review centered’ festival, it has the advantage of fully catering to photographers seeking to maximise their exposure in gaining valuable feedback through the expertly selected workshop mentors and international reviewers. Because of the proximity of the venues and the ability of the photographers to access the reviewers throughout the weekend, there are ample opportunities for casual conversations to happen – and I believe, even more for future installments – that these downtimes are vital to allow honest exchanges on a one to one basis, in addition to the scheduled reviews.

An advantage of being a small festival, the manageable numbers also help enhance the ‘community spirit’ and camaraderie of the participating photographers who come from all over Japan, and overseas as well, and I feel this is very important, especially for first- time reviewees, and more introvert photographers, and a unique feature for Mt.Rokko.

I have been following the progress of several photographers who attended the early installments of the festival and can happily say that many of them have gained new exposure of their projects and have gone on to win international awards, recognised in festivals or have exhibitions in galleries outside Japan. I can safely say that having attended Mt.Rokko previously, played an important part in their successes.

Since 2013, Mt.Rokko festival has been much praised for their purposeful and beneficial portfolio reviews and even as we had a smaller participation size this year, the variety and standard of projects presented were of greater depth and subject matter. This may be due to the stricter pre-selection process imposed by Takeki Sugiyama, the director to improve the overall photographic standard being presented to the international reviewers.

Part of the reason for attending a festival like Mt.Rokko and its portfolio review sessions is to make new connections with the greater photographic world, with international reviewers and also other photographers from Japan and overseas. Many opportunities can present themselves to participants – especially where their projects are unique or strong, and also where the participant makes the effort to communicate and interact in open discussions or during Q&As at the presentations.

I have known several past participants who have submitted entries to the Kuala Lumpur International Photoawards and have been successful in becoming finalists and also went on to be recognised in other awards and festivals. I am glad to see this happen. I am also seeing participants who have been awarded for their projects that have become stronger and more meaningful in their edits, over the years.

2013.L1000361

The importance of education – that is, not only by the formal way but through personal development by gaining knowledge through experience and interaction, is vital to any photographer who seeks to advance and elevate his or her craft, both technically and artistically. Portfolio reviews are an effective exercise in receiving critical feedback and guidance in a photographer’s journey for deeper self-expression. I am grateful and honoured for being able to be a part, however small, of this journey with the Mt.Rokko participants.

Advertisements

Just Portraits

I’m currently in Kuala Lumpur, having attended the Mt Rokko Photo Festival last weekend as a reviewer (I will write an in-depth post about that amazing festival shortly), and I just had fantastic KLPA awards and exhibition, celebrating 10 years of the awards. The last weeks had been incredible,  making new connections with creative people and seeing many interesting photo projects, especially from young photographers, or even non-creative people attempting their first photo projects.

Meanwhile, I shot a few portraits below in preparation for a Street Portrait workshop this coming Saturday with my ‘new’ Nikon 1 V1 camera I got from Facebook Marketplace last month for a mere £100!

DSC_0954

Nadirah Zakariya

prakesh

Prakash Daniel

DSC_0936 copy

Elena Herrero

Past Present Italy

Italy has a certain style and elegance that cannot truly be captured in pictures. The mix of culture, food, fashion, architecture, religion and a legacy so steeped in significant European history has culminated in a rich, thick, gravy of sensory and visual delights for photographers.

I was going through my archives in search of staircase pictures recently (see Simply Stairs ) and discovered several collections of images I have taken over the years in Rome, Venice, Tuscany and elsewhere.  I managed to select these to illustrate what I mean. It is also different from France, another country which I have visited a lot.

rome.L1003716

rome.L1003704

rome.L1003652

rome.L1003627

rome.L1003623

rome.L1003617

rome.L1003604

rome.L1003575

rome._R005291

L1005554

L1005627

Print Sale ! Jardin du Paillon, Nice, France

Thinking of a last minute present? Here’s a print you can have before Christmas. It was taken in the summer of 2015, in Nice, France.

I’m about to make a print order for this image, size 20×16 inches (50cm x 40cm), limited edition 10 only, Price $100 plus postage. I’ll be sending orders to Cambodia, Japan and USA, so there’s 7 prints remain in this edition.

Postage : Asia /USA $25.00, Europe $15.00.

Print on Fujifilm Crystal Archive satin or gloss, or Kodak Endura Metallic paper (nice!)
All prints will be signed, editioned and embossed, by me!
Send me a message on svllee@gmail.com

ohmyprints-07122017-200355

 

Photos Paris

Approche.Paris

“ How can you talk about photography without talking about desire?” Hervé Guibert, L’Image fantôme. Photography expanded its scope to space and in volume in the 1960s (a development which then sped up during the 1970s).

This evolution gives metaphorical proof of the importance that contemporary art has acquired in the development of photography. Approche puts forward the hypothesis-and even bets on the idea that photography has an articulate and autonomous body whose two feet are firmly anchored to the contemporary scene. Moreover, the exploratory dimension of  photography (as it has been written during its protohistory) has paved the way for certain contemporary artistic expressions. “

 


Art is everywhere. Art is nowhere.

I am in Paris for a couple of nights to visit Paris Photo and also meet up with some photographers and gallerists who are exhibiting over the weekend at the satellite shows. One exhibition I was taken to visit was Approche.Paris which was housed in a multi-level building just off Palais Royal, on Rue de Richlieu. The exhibition showcased 14 contemporary photographers/artists with different approaches using the medium of photography and constructed mixed media materials to challenge the often misconstrued legitimacy of photography as a ‘minor artform’.

‘Contemporary art and photography are not mutually exclusive.’

More about Approche 

JpegJpegJpegJpegJpeg

SHIBUYA – Curiosity Connects the World

This is one mega-exhibition that involves so many photographers & designers that will be traveling from Tokyo to Paris in 2018. Am honoured to be part of this historic event.

svllee.2017-3

Press Release 01 November 2017

“SHIBUYA – TOKYO CURIOSITY by TOKYO-GA”

DURATION: January 2nd to January 8th, 2018
VENUE: Shibuya Hikarie 8/Cube
Organized by NPO TOKYO-GA
Supported by The 4th ward, Paris. Shibuya ward, TOKYO
Cooperated by TOKYO-GA Supporters Circle

~ Curiosity connects the world ~ Identity・Diversity・Traceability ~

As one of the most dynamic city environments in Asia, Shibuya is at the forefront of new, on-the-edge trends and more particularly, of the emergence of a new Japanese life style. The dynamics of Shibuya have attracted the attention of the Japanese media and institutions. With the support of the city ward, the NPO TOKYO-GA has been charged to produce an exhibition featuring Shibuya’s identity at Shibuya Hikarie in January 2018.

This first exhibition will be the forerunner of what we would like to conceive as a traveling exhibition that presents the identity of Shibuya and the young Japanese generation abroad. Concrete and abstract themes will be featured through photography as a central element combined with mural video projection, virtual reality and art installations.

” I expect Tokyo-GA to communicate the exquisite charm, power, and vibrations of the Tokyo Megalopolis, with its sceneries and urban landscapes, a succession of vertical and horizontal rhythmical symphonies, which no other city in the world can give.”
~ Richard COLLASSE, President, CHANEL.K.K.

TOKYO-GA Participating Photographers
Satoshi ASAKAWA, Jean-Michel BERTS, Navid BARATY, Yukari CHIKURA, Renate D’AGOSTIN, Giuseppe DE FRANCESCO, Michael FEATHER, Stéphanie FRAISSE, Michel FRAPIER, Haruhi FUJII, the GAZE, Emmanuel GUILLARD, Mikio HASUI, Roland HAGENBERG, Tatsuya HIRABAYASHI, Kenji HIRASAWA, Taishi HIROKAWA, Tomoki HIROKAWA, Naoki HONJO, Norihisa HOSAKA, Minoru HOHTSUKI, Rie ISHISHITA, Kimiko ISHIYAMA, Gentaro ISHIZUKA, Keiichi ITO, Ooki JINGU, Bishin JUMONJI, Daisuke KAMIMURA, Chiaki KANO, Junpei KATO, Haruna KAWANISHI, Evarett KENNEDY BROWN, Rei KISHITSU, Eriko KOGA, Yasutaka KOJIMA, Kentaro KUMON, Osamu KURIHARA, Edward LEVINSON, Sebastien LEBEGUE, Steven LEE, Ilse LEENDERS, Tomoaki MAKINO, Yoshiko MATSUNAGA, Chihiro MINATO, Muga MIY AHARA, Mamiko MIYAHARA, Christopher MORRIS, Daido MORIYAMA, Yuki MORITA, Ken-ichi NAGASAKI, Masataka NAKANO, Hiroki NAKASHIMA, Sakiko NOMURA, Katsumi OHMORI, Mitsugu OHNISHI, Ryo OHWADA, Atsushi OKADA, Tsutomu ONO, Yuki ONODERA, Daisuke OOZU, Cesar ORDOÑEZ. Thomas PRIOR, Bruno QUINQUET, Takehito SATO, Tatsuya SHIMOHIRA, Taku SHINDO, Vincent SOULIE, Jeremie SOUTEYRAT, Ichigo SUGAWARA, Masayoshi SUKITA, Takeshi SUMI, Mikiya TAKIMOTO, Saori TAO, Kiyoshi TATSUKAWA, Yukinori TOKORO, Yoshihiko UEDA, Makiko UI, Kikuko USUYAMA, Kazuhiko WASHIO, Kazuki WATANABE, James WHITLOW DELANO, Michael WOLF, Celine WU, Masami YAMAMOTO, Yuki YAMADA(CHAP-TYAPU), Naomi YANAGIMOTO, Hiroshi YODA, Alao YOKOGI, Guenter ZORN

 

 


TOKYO-GA 東京画 MISSION STATEMENT
DESCRIBING TOKYO SCAPES BY 100 PHOTOGRAPHERS

In spring 2011, Japan experienced one of the biggest tragedies of its history that will remain in the memory of people for generations. The tremendous earthquake, the enormous tsunami and the catastrophic meltdown of the Fukushima power plant, all three incidents have damaged heavily the beautiful Japanese landscape and the trust in a safe Japanese nation.

TOKYO-GA, established in April 2011, gathers photographs taken by 100 photographers who have chosen Tokyo as their subject. Through the perspective of these photographers, “TOKYO-GA” wants to promote reflection on the development of the Japanese capital in the aftermath of the 2011 disaster. By looking at the works, the onlooker is invited to ponder over what is beautiful, what is sad, what is important, and to evaluate the possibilities that may lie ahead. The works illustrated show us some aspects of what is essential for Tokyo, something fragile such as an atmosphere, a behaviour or a gesture.

TOKYO-GA invites to share the beat and breath of Tokyo, a city undergoing big changes in this decade, and to witness the presence with sincerity through the eyes of 100 photographers who have each of them identified Tokyo in their own personal way.

Naoko OHTA
Commissioner Founder – TOKYO-GA

Further information
NPO TOKYO-GA
c/o KLEE INC TOKYO
8-12-25, Akasaka, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0052 Tokyo Japan Tel: 81-(0)3-5410-1277 Fax: 81-(0)3-5410-1278
Mail: info@tokyo-ga.org
http://www.tokyo-ga.org/

Ends

Waterhole

L1002255

There’s a charming little oasis, a waterhole, almost hidden from view, in Wimbledon Common where I walk Kipper regularly, where the golfer’s pass by via a cut-through path down a shallow dip linking the two tee-off areas of the public golf course.

Sometimes, you’ll catch a little egret resting in the shallow waters or on a fallen branch along the waters edge. I’m sure there’s fish in the pond. Over winter, the pond water freezes to a dirty crust of ice, encasing the floating leaves and debris left over from Autumn.

Finally, I can say that this long term photo project, of documenting the Common, is taking shape, into a book sometime in the future. I have sufficient images now from 5 years of photography (since we got Kipper and began exploring the area) to make a decent edit.

More later…

Featured Artist : KG Krishnan

I have known KG since 2014, when I mentored him for the very first Exposure+ Mentor Program. He produced a stunning series of stylised portraits of transmen and transwomen living in Kuala Lumpur called Continuum.

Much time has passed since then, and recently I discovered that he had been off the scene for some time, but has since produced this piece, which formed the subject of his presentation at the KL International Photoawards 2017 in Kuala Lumpur, titled loosely as Between Lust and Longing.

KG is one of those rare and extremely talented artists who, can and will surprise you, unpredictable and yet photographs with such personal conviction, and dedication, often obsessive, with every kind of camera he can find, and in this series, his phone, mainly. I think he often lives on the edge.

This project began as a body of work documenting my personal struggle with crystal meth which started in the year 2011. A quick search online for crystal meth will tell you a great deal of its dangers on the mind and body, the demographic, its use is usually associated with, and some statistics on the estimated number of people currently thought to be using meth in communities around the world – all of which would be completely misleading.” KG

“In the early days of my use, by chance I’d stumbled upon a group of users among the gay community which at the time I thought to be an isolated incident, though soon after I started realising that the community as a whole was on the verge of an epidemic and with it, my battle to stay clean started to decline.”

 


 

KG Krishnan was born in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1989. A journalist, photographer and spoken word artist, his art explores ideas concerning sexuality, gender politics and the intimacy of human relationships in the contexts of contemporary culture.

As a commercial photographer and art director, KG Krishnan’s clientele comprises design institutions, fashion designers, advertising agencies, filmmakers, musicians and lifestyle publications ­ for whom he produces images, film and fashion productions. His work, both writing and photography, has been widely published around Southeast Asia and occasionally appears in European and American publications.

He currently does visual consulting and art direction for production and advertising clients in Kuala Lumpur while working on personal projects.

His work can be viewed at www.kgkrishnan.format.com

Featured Artist : Caroline Gavazzi

_KX11588

I visited Caroline’s exhibition at The Brick Lane Gallery yesterday and thought I’d make a quick post about this amazing double exhibition of her last two projects, since the display will only be up for a short period, this weekend! At the front of the gallery, her recent work titled Tropical Sighs is a series of photographs taken through greenhouse glass of tropical plants. The works are all printed on art paper and appears painterly. The dirt and condensation from the internal surfaces of the glasshouse add layers of vibrant texture to the plant studies and gives them a unique look. Read her statement here . I was also intrigued by the way she boxed framed all her prints in clear perspex, perhaps creating another second ‘equilibrium-environment’ which has already been subjected to the living plants via the greenhouse.

The back of the gallery displays her earlier project titled We Are Here. This is a conceptual portraiture series depicting headshots in black and white of settled refugees from a small village in Calabria, Italy called Riace, where the town mayor, one Domenico Lucano, in 1999, welcomed the arriving Kurdish migrants off a boat. He managed to house them in the many empty homes in his shrinking village and through his ingenuity, persuaded the home owners to sell their properties to him for the purpose of providing migrant housing, to this day, is one of the success stories in the larger refugee crisis.

The portraits are all displayed, once again with the use of a transparent perspex layer of an enlarged fingerprint in front of the person – to symbolise giving back identities to what is often, faceless and stateless refugees, since we know that no two fingerprints are ever alike, and every print (and face) is a person of uniqueness.

Powerful stuff.


 

Caroline Gavazzi is a French/ Italian photographer who lived in London for over 20 years and currently resides between Milan and London.

Caroline presented a Slide Share talk at LightGallery in 2013 and since then, she worked at Spéos Photography School in London. She has Masters in Professional Photography Practice from LCC and also studied photography at Spéos in Paris.


 

Current Exhibition 

Tropical Sighs & We Are Here

5 – 10 July, 2017 Daily 10 – 6pm

The Brick Lane Gallery, 216 Brick Ln, London E1 6SB

www.carolinegavazzi.com

More Featured Artists here