asia pacific photography
West Coast USA - Japanese Americans:
   

Presenting a selection of photographs scanned from Photograms of the Year - representing a cross section of Japanese American photographers from the West Coast of the USA. Noting that the photographers would have been packed off to internment camps during World War II and forbidden to own cameras for the duration.

Following taken from an online review New York Times 1988

"They readily adopted its compositional tropes and its attention to chiaroscuro and texture, producing images with affinities to Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock prints and sumi-e painting.

Ironically, the elements of Japanese style in these photographs come not from any inherent or native tradition, but from American Pictorialism's own Japonisme, which was largely inspired by the paintings of Whistler and the Post-Impressionists.

Edward Weston, also a Pictorialist early in his career, was a direct influence on many Japanese-Americans in the Los Angeles area, including Toyo Miyatake, one of the show's most interesting figures.

Miyatake's untitled abstraction of 1925 is a striking example of how Cubism and Pictorialism could be brought together, if not quite reconciled. Weston's influence extended as far north as Seattle, as can be seen in Frank Kunishige's soft-focus 1927 image of a lithe barely draped woman, which recalls Weston's much earlier portraits of Margarethe Mather.

Another photographer who stands out for his adaptive talents is Hiromu Kira. Unlike Miyatake, Kira eschewed pure abstraction, but his patterned compositions of dishware seem as modern as any Bauhaus light study. Two images of folded-paper birds, from 1927, are especially endearing; they combine elements of hard-edged geometric abstraction with the lyrical, transformative evocations of origami."

................

another reference LA Times 1986

 introduction  |  photos  |  slide show  |  lists |  biographies | online collection |   home