Japan

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Photography

Quirky Juxtapositions Capture Imperfect Human Moments in Photographs by Shin Noguchi

September 27, 2019

Laura Staugaitis

All photographs shared with permission of the artist

Photographer Shin Noguchi spends his time, camera in hand, in Japan’s public spaces, observing and seeking out candid moments that reflect the humorous, heartbreaking, and bizarre realities of the human experience. Noguchi shares with Colossal that he values the existential affirmation of human life that he gleans from his work, accepting his and others’ situations as they are. The artist shies away from the term ‘street photographer’, as he views his work as more of a sociological experience.

“To shoot people with a camera is, for me, is like saying hello,” the photographer explains. “Sometime I use my mouth for it, sometime I use my eyes, and sometimes my camera, that’s it. I just really enjoy ‘talking’ or making conversation with people in the street, and if I use a camera for it, I always use the viewfinder; I never use hip-shots to hide myself.”

Noguchi tells Colossal that he was raised in a very creative household, and quickly fell in love with photography as a teen when his father gave him an old Fujica camera. Of the innumerable memorable moments Noguchi has encountered over the years, two memories stand out in particular.

After an exhausting day one February, in which the photographer had spent four hours shooting during heavy snowfall in Kamakura, he passed by a life-size mascot of a Kentucky Fried Chicken store, with the snow-crested Colonel Sanders offering a quiet, seemingly reassuring smile. On another winter’s day, Noguchi observed a craftsman carrying dozens of shoji (paper-paned interior doors) out of a Shibakoen temple for routine re-covering. Growing tired from his repetitive labors, the man finally punched a hole in the paper to make the shoji easier to carry.

You can follow along with Noguchi’s visual discoveries on Instagram and explore his extensive portfolio on his website. (via The Guardian)

 

 



Art

Four Seasons of Flowers Appear to Blossom and Wither in a Responsive Installation by teamLab

August 7, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Illuminated columns protrude from the ground of bath house ruins in a new installation by teamLab (previously). The structures, which the Japanese collective refers to as “megaliths,” feature moving images of waterfalls and flowers in a constant state of change. Over the course of an hour, visitors will experience one year of seasonal flowers bud, grow, blossom, and wither away. Incorporated into the megaliths is also imagery of flowing water that adapts to the movement of nearby viewers. Each element of the artwork is computer generated, unique, and will never appear in the same state again.

Megaliths in the Bath House Ruins was created for a new exhibition titled A Forest Where Gods Live, in Mifuneyama Rakuen Park on the Japanese island of Kyushu, which runs through November 4, 2019. The soundtrack for the piece was created by Hideaki Takahashi, and sponsored by Grand Seiko. You can view more computer-animated sculptures and installations on teamLab’s website and Vimeo. (via designboom)

 

 



Design

Japanese Monster Figurines Apologize For Their Destruction at Press Conference Podiums

March 15, 2019

Johnny Waldman

The art of the apology – it’s an integral part of Japanese culture that helps maintain balance and harmony in society. Combining that with kaiju figurines is this brilliant little set of toys that feature the likes of Godzilla and Mechagodzilla apologizing at a press conference, head hanging solemnly, for the destruction they’ve caused.

The toys were released back in 2016 as part of a promotion campaign for the Shin-Godzilla movie. They were sold as gachapon and retailed for 300 yen each.

They included Godzilla apologizing for destructive vandalism (破壊行為), Mechagodzilla for imitation and copyright infringement (模倣行為) and King Gidra for aggressive invasion (侵略行為). The toys have since been taken off the primary market but for those willing to pay up, they’re available on the secondary market, albeit at a 500+% markup. (Syndicated from Spoon & Tamago)

 

 



Craft Food

Miniature Embroideries by ipnot Transform Thread into Delicious Designs

January 9, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

Japanese embroidery artist ipnot (previously) continues to dazzle us with her creative miniatures formed from thread and embroidery hoops. The works often incorporate props, such as ketchup bottles or chopsticks, to add an interactive layer to the pieces. Textile noodles are staged in slurping position while a perfect pile of ketchup appears to have just been dolloped onto another one of her works. The artist’s realistic designs typically involve food, like her recent sushi stop-motion animation, or a hovering pizza slice that appears to be connected to an embroidery hoop with melted cheese. You can see more of the artist’s embroideries on Instagram.

 

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Sushi Roll🍣 – #embroidery #stopmotion #ipnot#節分#恵方巻#刺繍

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Photography

Traditional and Contemporary Japanese Culture Collides in Striking Photographs by RK

December 7, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Tokyo-based photographer RK explores the far reaches of Japan, as well as neighboring Asian countries, shooting images that capture both timeless and of-the-moment scenes.  RK often includes signs of life in his landscape images, whether a fisherman casting a line beneath a vibrant Japanese maple tree, or a carefree skateboarder cruising down a paved road with Hokkaido looming in the distance. The photographer also highlights the densely-packed nature of life in Japan, from masses of commuters forming a sea of umbrellas to shop owners surrounded by huge selections of neatly organized inventory.

Despite the highly composed quality of his photos, RK shares with Colossal, “There’s always new places I want to take photos, so I always try to find new compositions and ideas when arriving at the photo spot.” RK explains that he came across photography by chance: he was immersed in street culture and working as a professional DJ, when he joined an urban running crew and the founder asked him to take some photos of his teammates. From there, he dove into the field, teaching himself to shoot and edit images.

You can see more of RK’s work on his website and stay up-to-date on his most recent photographs and travels via Instagram. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

 

 



Photography

Charming Photographs Capture the Daily Life of Three Daughters Growing Up in Kamakura, Japan

November 27, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Japanese photographer Shin Noguchi’s series One Two Three follows the daily explorations, amusements, and tantrums of his three daughters, nine-year-old Yumeji, four-year-old Kotoyo, and two-year-old Hikono. The unplanned snapshots capture split-second moments of beauty such as a bubble floating perfectly in frame to surround his daughters’ faces in one image, or a photograph of his toddler at the table fast asleep behind a large cheese pizza.

“I just click the shutter when the moment is right during the life of my family,” explains Noguchi to Colossal. “I definitely hear a kind of music while clicking the shutter—the unposed, unstaged moments that exist. It’s like improvisations in Jazz. Like Eric Dolphy said, If I missed it, it’s gone in the air, I can never capture it again.”

Noguchi was inspired to start documenting his children after losing his father to stage four lung cancer in 2017. When packing up his father’s things he found previously unseen pictures of his own childhood taken by his mother which inspired him to engage in a more comprehensive documentation of his own family’s life. “If someone asks me, ‘Are these photos then art, or life?’ I want to say that ‘life is art,'” he explains. “I never called my photography ‘art,’ but definitely they show me what I feel art to be.”

You can see more photographs from the quiet and loud moments of Noguchi’s daughters’ lives on his website and Instagram. (via Īgnant)

 

 



Design History Illustration

Hundreds of Japanese Firework Illustrations Now Available for Free Download

November 15, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

In the early 20th-century English fireworks company C.R. Brock and Company (now known as Brocks Fireworks) published colorful catalogs displaying designs from Japanese companies such as Hirayama Fireworks and Yokoi Fireworks. Six catalogs of diverse pyrotechnic diagrams have been digitized and made available for download thanks to the city of Yokohama’s public library. If you don’t read Japanese, you can download each publication’s PDF by visiting their website, clicking one of the book’s English titles near the bottom of the page, and then clicking “本体PDF画像” link below the image. Each catalog is a tremendous and varied selection of the firework shapes and colors of the time, with several designs you might recognize no matter where you view contemporary fireworks displays. (via Open Culture)

 

 

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