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The Department of Photography (DOF) at Nihon Universityʼs College of Art is once again staging its “SKY” photographic exhibition where works produced purposefully for presentation by three faculty members are introduced.
All three of the DOF faculty members showing at SKYⅢ are alums of the school who were taught the basics by their predecessors and went on to use that to explore, develop and perfect their own styles of expression. Moreover, because they are involved with a diversity of students on a regular basis, they look at a vast number of photos everyday, which spurs them to try different modes of expression.
Teaching is, nonetheless, their job and whatever personally creative work they do is done on the side. This obviously limits when and where they can take pictures. On top of that, COVID-19 and the self-restraints it has imposed have prevented public exhibitions this year until now and forced them to build the exhibition around past works. Since it is not known when it will once again be possible go shooting abroad, they are bringing you images of far-away lands you will hopefully enjoy.
Yuzuru Asai is presenting snapshots taken during his travels across Europe, the USA and Japan, laid out geographically into three zones. In his European works, he has created a contiguous image of the cityscape across the borders of France, Monte Carlo and Italy by focusing on cars. In his American works, he has narrowed his focus to New York and specifically tourists photographing the fun they are having on vacay. Asai takes a similar approach in his works of Japan, with the bulk of his photos depicting camera-toting travelers in various parts of the country. It is obvious in his “Joy of Photography” series that Asai himself is the one who enjoyed taking pictures on vacation, but you can draw a lot of parallels between him and the people in his photos.
Satomi Tanaka pursues early photographic processes and old photos produced with these techniques as a field of interest. In his productive activities, he continues to visit places that figure in the history of photography and places he has been before, and photograph them conscious of the time that has gone by. This year, he is showing his most recent works done by salt printing, the pictures themselves taken of Lacock Abbey in England. Lacock was home to William Henry Fox Talbot who invented the worldʼs first negative-positive photographic process, known as “Calotype”. As an homage to Talbot, he has used his same process to print photos of the very landscapes that Talbot himself most likely knew.
Kazuto Hattori is making a repeat appearance from last year. With his penchant for travelling, Hattori continues to take pictures across Japan and abroad. This year, being unable to travel for obvious reasons, he is showing some choice works of Cuba where he has been photographing the land, life and culture since 2011. Cuba restored diplomatic relations with the USA in 2015 and there have been changes in the cityscapes and lifestyles since then. Luckily, the snapshots Hattori captured with his Hasselblad and wide-angle lens portray a Cuba you donʼt see anymore - quaint streetscapes and colorful people from before the change.
We happen to be in this year of hardened travel restrictions to have such a large number of works that were taken abroad. And, with digital, classical processing (salt printing) and film media on display, we are being treated to three separate styles and three different worlds of expression where original prints have been carefully cured down to the finishing touches. I invite you to discover the breadth and depth of their photographic expression. In closing, I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to everyone who has come to view this exhibition and to the many persons at Sony Imaging Gallery who made this exhibition possible.
Hitomi Nishigaki Professor, Nihon University
Born 1960 in Ishikawa Prefecture.
Having studied aeronautics in the Air Self-Defense Force and worked in the corporate world, he was more than 40 years old when he enrolled in the Department of Photography of the Nihon University College of Art. He completed a graduate program and is now an associate professor in the department, mainly teaching the basics of photography. His research focus is early photographic techniques, and he is exploring ways to utilize them in contemporary photographic work. His work emphasizes photographic recording, in gelatin silver black-and-white prints in formats ranging from 8x10 inches to 35mm. He attempts to complete better-quality prints in every format, including film that has been exposed to X-rays during airport security scans.
Member of The Photographic Society of Japan, The Society of Photography and Imaging of Japan, and The Japan Society for Arts and History of Photography
Born in 1961 in Nagoya. Graduated from the Department of Photography at Nihon University College of Art. Worked for Nippon Design Center, Inc. before joining the Japan International Cooperation Agency where he served nine years in assignments at the Nairobi National Museum of Kenya, and the Chiang Mai Tribal Museum and the Ayutthaya Historical Study Center in Thailand. After returning to Japan he worked as a freelance photographer, and currently he is an associate professor of photography at Nihon University, leading seminars in all aspects of documentary photography. Since his student days, he has traveled frequently and made street snapshots in both digital and silver salt formats. He has also done fieldwork among the hill tribes of Laos and Thailand, making videos together with cultural anthropologists.
Member of the Photographic Society of Japan, The Japan Society for Arts and History of Photography, and the External Evaluation Committee of the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum
Professor and Head, Photography Department, College of Art, Nihon University
Born in Tokyo in 1956. After graduating from the Photography Department at Nihon Universityʼs College of Art in 1980, went to work for Pola Cosmetics, Inc. (now Pola Inc.) where serving as a photographer and art director in the production office of the public relations department. Began teaching at his alma mater on a part-time basis in 2002 and later, in 2004, as an associate professor, after leaving the company and taking his photographic talents freelance. Was elevated to professor in 2009, named to the collegeʼs executive board in 2016 and appointed department head in 2019. His field of study centers on photographic expression in advertising. Served as a reviewer for the Higashikawa International Photo Festival from 2011 - 2018, and as a judge for events sponsored by the Professional Photographers of Japan and other interests since 2015. Many of the photos shown at this exhibition were produced under a “Joy of Photography” theme and published in the first edition of “Research in the Arts: College of Art, Nihon University”.
Member, Japan Advertising Photographersʼ Association (APA) and The Japan Society for Arts and History of Photography
Explanation of works (In Japanese)