Heading Out For an Adventure

Starting an adventure tomorrow that will last the next three weeks. I’m keeping the location a surprise until I arrive.

I’m aiming for daily updates.

The owl will not be joining me on the trip but I find his stare really motivating. When I get tired I will always imagine this face encouraging me to get moving… or else!

Kanna Arts Matsuri 2018

This view  greets me overtime I return to Onishi. The weather may change but the green and the water are always welcoming.

Onishi, Gunma has a great art residency program with Shiro Oni Studio. The studio and the town are really doing great things to support art. 2018 marks the fourth Kanna Art Matsuri. This festival also showcases the work by the artists in residence during that session.  It’s  a great time to relax, meet people and enjoy looking at and talking about art.

I really enjoyed the residents’ artist talks. In fact, I was so into what they were saying, I forgot to take photos!

As a past artist in residence and being a local-ish artist, I was invited to participate. This year I showed three pieces I took in Onishi during different visits. I printed on washi paper and mounted them on gessoed wood panel.

The chair scene and the glass of plum wine are from a summer I was writing haiku on the second floor of the Shiro Oni Studio’s repurposed old kimono shop called Kinuya.

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My work just before taking it down.
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The Kura of the old sake brewery that hosts Kana Arts Matsuri

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I had a chance to continue my mushroom photo project after I helped with the deinstall. I appreciate the way Shiro Oni Studio gives different ways to work on one’s art practice and also experience nature.

Thanks Shiro Oni Studios and artists for the great art festival!

 

note: edited Nov 3rd, 2018 to put in the correct video–the Sanba River instead of the hedgehog video. Though hedgehog was pretty cute.

Snowfences: My First Solo Show

The Snowfences series was exhibited at The NeiCrescent Moon- Snowfencesghbourhood and Coffee Starbucks Okusawa near Jiyugaoka Station in Tokyo for the month of July. This series had 13 photos ranging from A2 to A5 in size. They were printed on inkjet washi paper. Everything A3 and smaller was printed on Awagami Paper Factory’s Inbe inkjet print paper.

It was a thrill to see my work on the wall. Many thanks to the manager, Nakano-san and the staff who made the experience so wonderful. It’s a beautiful place to hang art.

The photo, Crescent Moon is probably my favourite in the series though I almost didn’t include it.

Most of the photos were taken during a trip through the Rocky Mountains in Idaho and Montana during stormy, almost white-out conditions so the majority of the work in the show is stormy white.

Later during the trip, the sky cleared to reveal this clear moon. This print will continue to be available on my shop.

Below are some photos from the exhibition and the last day. Thanks again Starbucks and Nakano-san for the wonderful experience!

Upcoming Exhibitions Including my FIRST Solo Show

It’s been a productive time behind the scenes and now the fun stuff! I have three exhibitions coming up in the next couple weeks. Two are group exhibitions and the other is my first SOLO show!

I’ll be posting more about each show in the future, but for now, this is the schedule.

Artist Interview with Yuko Kamei

Today Yuko Kamei shares her insights about the Tokyo Art Book Fair 2016 and working with  Art Byte Critique group. This is the second in a series of interview with the ABC artists who participated in the TABF 2016.

Portrait of Yuko Kamei
Portrait of Yuko Kamei courtesy of the artist.

Yuko studied contemporary dance at Roehampton University, U.K. and received her MFA from Goldsmiths, University of London in 2007. Her interest in body-based thinking led her to the legacy of post-modern dance in New York in the 1960s and 70s, especially Contact Improvisation. She learned how the laws of physics apply to human bodies and movements, and how musculoskeletal awareness influences abstract thinking. Seeking for ways to communicate kinesthetic wisdom learned through dancing, she finds photography to be ideal space in which to work.

Why did you want to participate in TABF?
I have been an artist book fan myself, and participation to TABF was something I’ve always wanted to do.

Art book of notes and sketches by Yuko Kamei
Thoughts Collection by Yuko Kamei

What kind of books did you produce?
This year I made a small A7 sized photocopy booklet with drawings which represents my key thoughts for the last 5 years of my artistic journey.

How did working with Art Byte Critique help you prepare your work?
To be honest I wouldn’t have been able to make it without being with ABC. I had this willingness of book-making all the time but when it comes to the content creation things get quite tough. For me, the get together became a good deadline for the initial sets of drawing, and warm and encouraging comments from ABC artists on that day fuelled me so much to finalise a book in the next 10 days.

What do you take away from this experience?
One thing I am happy about is the fact that I was able to make a book which is very meaningful to my own development. Secondly, I am feeling grateful to have such a supportive and inspirational individuals around me.

Thoughts Collection by Yuko Kamei (inside pages view)
Thoughts Collection by Yuko Kamei (inside pages view)

What did you learn from the process of preparing for the show?
In terms of TABF display preparation, I was not able to do much due to my current job circumstances. So I just would like to thank you all for making it happen.

Why do you make books?
I like thinking about exhibitions, and I take books as one of such platforms. Structurally it has a distinct linearity but at the same time it can expand and collapse in area. Book format works for me sometimes to give a shape to my floating ideas.

If you are interested in Art Byte Critique, you can find out more at https://atobaito.wordpress.com or check out their Facebook page.

You can find out more about Yuko Kamei and her work at: http://yuccak.net

Weekly Photo Challenge: Harmony

This week’s photo challenge is harmony. I loved the sheet music image for the challenge post. Fascinating way to see someone’s creative thought.

I can play piano but I’m not really a musician so I was glad to see the other elements of harmony written in the challenge, “the quality of forming a pleasing and consistent whole.” 

And my first thought was cookies and coffee. Pairs that go together. I suppose that is more of a duet. Then I thought of photographing my yarns, exploring the harmonies in the color palettes.

Then I saw this image I took late last fall. I like the composition of the image, the consistent whole I see there. And though I prefer my photos to stand on their own merit, without having to explain the image, the harmony of this photo come from the fact that I took it while I was jogging around my neighbourhood. This is a cute little shrine not so far from my house but I had never seen it before.

The weather was pretty good, though a bit overcast, but I then fact that I could combine exercise, discovery and some photography is really an ultimate kind of harmony for me.IMG_3515.jpg

Marukobashi and the Super Moon September 2015

different shot, different editing
Marukobashi and the September 2015 Supermoon (and a bit of train blur)

It’s an unassuming little bridge connecting Kanagawa-Ken to southwestern Tokyo spanning the Tamagawa but Marukobashi has nice arches, a wide pedestrian walkway and some nice lighting. The fact that the sky is relatively open compared to the rest of Tokyo is makes it a logical choice for trying to capture the September supermoon while it was still low in the sky.

I ran home after work, packed my bag and cycled to the bridge. It wasn’t until I was half-way there that I remembered I would be cycling home in the dark and I’d forgotten my flashlight. Too late to turn back and since the fine is $500 for riding without a bike light (though not always enforced) the fact that my route went by two police stations meant I’d be walking my bike back. Luckily, that was the only mishap.

2015-09-supermoon-marukobashi-setup-lori-ono-wTimeanddate.com gave me the time and direction of moonrise. The compass app on my phone pointed me in the right direction. I crossed the bridge into Kanagawa, set up and waited. Sunday night was the eclipse and event though I couldn’t see it in Japan, I’d been pouring over the postings in Flickr and drooling with envy. I particularly liked a photo by Jeffrey Sullivan which was taken this April and you can see here. He was generous enough to give some great info on his shot and some technical aspects of photographing the moon. Somewhere during my perusing I learned about the 500 rule. The 500 rule helps you get nice crispy shots of the moon by determining the longest exposure you can make based on your lens before movement of the moon and the stars blurs the shot (assuming your tripod is sturdy).

500 Divided By the Focal Length of Your Lens = The Longest Exposure (in Seconds) Before Stars Start to “Trail”

There is a great explanation of this at Petapixel.

To my great relief, there were hardly any clouds on Monday compared to my shoot at Tateyama Castle in Chiba the night before. And when that moon peeped over Marukobashi, I was literally jumping up and down. Which required a quick explanation to a family walking past. And here are a few of my shots.

World Wide Photo Walk 2015: Tokyo, Yurakucho

It’s been a crazy last couple of weeks. The Tokyo Art Book Fair is finished, the Kanna Art Festival is over, just finished a week and a half of a short-term job, photographed the supermoon in Chiba on Sunday and near my house on Monday, prepped for an upcoming trip to Yosemite and finally the World Wide Photo Walk!

If you’re wondering what World Wide Photo Walk (WWPW2015) is your best bet is to check out Photoshop guru Scott Kelby’s page, Kelby One. Volunteers around the world organized a walk on their city and photographers meet up for a day of socializing and photography. We can enter one photo from our walk in a contest and the rest we can put up in the Flickr group. There are souvenirs available online and the proceeds go to a charity.

Candy Javier organized our photo walk here in a Tokyo and it was a nice day of meeting people and taking pics. We shot around Yurakucho. I took lots of pics but I didn’t get anything I liked until we got near the Yurakucho Concourse, a Mieji-era styled little tunnel under the train tracks. It’s interesting what does and does not catch out eyes. I don’t usually photograph people because I feel like I’m invading their privacy but I tried a few street shots. My favorite was a pair of elderly people holding hands as they walked down the street.

I brought more gear than I used.  I’d toyed with the idea of using some off camera flash, but just decided to focus on details and people using the 70-300mm lens. I love the 5DIII but I’m finding that changing lenses can be tough when I use a knapsack. I’m still trying to balance a healthy back and easy lens changes. I guess that perfect bag is my unicorn. My new camera bag has hooks on the back for my camera strap to keep the weight of my neck. It worked like a charm! At the end of the day my neck didn’t hurt and I felt less tired than I usual.

Candy, YT, Hideyuki and I finished the walk drinks at Manpuku Shokudo under the tracks. YT and Hideyuki kept shooting after but I had to go home, start packing and catch up on other work.

This is the photo I’m entering. I like the light in the rail underpass and the couple.
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Here are some other shots I liked from the day.
People:

Architecture and Details:

And now for the iPhone shots:

Paper Pinhole Camera Photos

After sitting in a drawer for a year, I finally built the paper-pinhole camera I bought at The MoMA Design Store in Omotesando.

 The camera is made from thick cardstock and comes with double sided tape instead of glue. The instructions were in Japanese but the diagrams were enough to go on.

 It’s pretty basic. The exposure “setting” written on the back of the camera is 2-3 seconds with ISO100 on a day suitable for the sunny 16 rule. But who has time for that? I threw in a roll of Fuji 1600 to deal with the cloudy days and to make the camera easier to shoot hand-held. I like the idea of tripods, I don’t like the weight. Plus you can toss a camera in your bag for the day, but a tripod requires planning.

I got my first roll of film back. It actually worked better than I expected. That bar was quite low actually. I thought the film would all be blank or light leak city. Here are the images unedited, except for the addition of lots of dust from my scanner. I only realised now how much it needs a cleaning.

When building the camera, I didn’t put in the frame part on the film. I don’t get a crisp, classic 35 mm frame. Instead I get a longer image with a lot of vignetting. Advancing the film is an art. It’s not a simple turn the knob twice as the instructions say. I ended up wasting a lot of film.

I didn’t really get any amazing images this go-round. I pretty much just took photos when I remembered the camera was in my bag. The camera works and I like it well enough that I might actually plan for a day of tripod carrying. I can see some potential for better photos with a more thoughtful approach to subject matter.

Tokyo Art Book Fair 2015 and Kanna Art Festival 2015

It’s been a busy and great art time for me. I’m showing work at two locations. The Tokyo Art Book Fair and the Kanna Art Festival in Onishi Gunma.

The TABF 2015 has been a lot of fun. I’m at a table with the Art Byte Critique Group. I’m exhibiting some work from last year (Estello) and some new books that I made for this fair.

   
 

New work for this year are the 8-Fold books of poetry and illustration.

   
 I also made stab binding  books of holgaroid (a Holga with a Polaroid adapter) photos I did of Minato-Mirai area.

  

At the Kanna Festival I’m showing some pinhole camera photographs I took while snowshoeing in Zao, Yamagata.

   
 

The Kanna Autumn Art Festival runs until Sunday night, September 27 in Onishi, Gunma. Details on the Shiro Oni website.

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