Japan's Must-Read Magazine

Art Me Up: Q&A with Masters of Photography

HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope you’re feeling recharged and ready to take on what 2010 has in store, both good fortune and challenges. I want to thank you all for all the great feedback on last month’s article; I was encouraged a great deal to hear from you. To celebrate The Gaijin Eye, I couldn’t resist firing up the time machine once more, this time letting a few cameramen in on the fun. Enjoy!


Hi guys, thanks for dropping by – Bob! Put that away!


What’s that? Sure, I’m ready, here’s the first question: Are art and photography different?


Henri Cartier-Bresson: Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing is a meditation.

Ansel Adams: Not everybody trusts paintings but people believe photographs.

Robert Mapplethorpe: I see things like they’ve never been seen before. Art is an accurate statement of the time in which it is made.


What does it take to make good pictures?


Yousuf Karsh: There is a brief moment when all there is in a man’s mind and soul and spirit is reflected through his eyes, his hands, his attitude. This is the moment to record.

Aaron Siskind: We look at the world and see what we have learned to believe is there. We have been conditioned to expect… but, as photographers, we must learn to relax our beliefs.

Robert Capa: It’s not enough to have talent, you also have to be Hungarian.


What interests you about photography?


Henri Cartier-Bresson: Actually, I’m not all that interested in the subject of photography. Once the picture is in the box, I’m not all that interested in what happens next. Hunters, after all, aren’t cooks.

Robert Mapplethorpe: I never liked photography. Not for the sake of photography. I like the object. I like the photographs when you hold them in your hand.


What did you find most challenging about photography?


Robert Mapplethorpe: I always thought I was good. That’s why it was so frustrating when other people didn’t agree.

Henri Cartier-Bresson: We photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing, and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth that can make them come back again. We cannot develop and print a memory.

Yousuf Karsh: The trouble with photographing beautiful women is that you never get into the dark room until after they’ve gone.


What is photography?


Edward Weston: Photography suits the temper of this age – of active bodies and minds. It is a perfect medium for one whose mind is teeming with ideas, imagery, for a prolific worker who would be slowed down by painting or sculpting, for one who sees quickly and acts decisively, accurately.


What would you like to say to the talented photographers featured in the Gaijin Eye competition?


Ansel Adams: A true photograph need not be explained, nor can it be contained in words.

Robert Capa: Like the people you shoot and let them know it.

D.T. Suzuki: If one really wishes to be a master of an art, technical knowledge of it is not enough. One has to transcend technique so that the art becomes an "artless art" growing out of the unconscious.


As usual, amazing stuff guys – let’s get together again soon!




art pick ups



Treasures of the Habsburg Monarchy

January 6th to March 14th, 2010

Kyoto National Museum


Approximately 120 paintings and decorative art works, which formerly belonged to the Habsburg family, now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna (Austria) and the Szépmüvészati Múzeum in Budapest (Hungary), will be shown at the Kyoto National Museum.


Admission: Adults ¥1,500, High School/Univ. Students ¥1,000, Elementary/Middle School Students ¥500

More info: www.kyohaku.go.jp



Transnational Art 2010

January 25th-30th, 2010

Osaka Contemporary Art Center


38 talented, emerging artists from across Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Japan, the US and New Zealand converge to show installations, paintings, sculptures, new genre works and videos at this unique show curated by SoHo Art Gallery. There’s a scheduled performance by Kotaro Hatch on opening day at 15:30 and a special Art Talk featuring presentations by the Flanders Center, Osaka Arts Planning and participating artists.


Admission: FREE

Tel.: 06-4394-7456

More info: transart2010.blogspot.com

To download a PDF of this story as it appears in the magazine, click here