Kamakura photo book by Andy Barker

Veteran photographer, photography instructor, and longtime Japan resident Andy Barker has published a book of his photos of Kamakura in English and Japanese.

Title: Kamakura – A Collection of Photographs by Andy Barker
ISBN: 978-4-9903528-0-6
Price: 2100 yen (inc. tax)
Published by: photospace b books
Available at: Kinokuniya (Tokyo, New York, and San Francisco) and Maruzen book stores in Tokyo, and at Kamakura book shops (Shimamori bookstore, one block directly in front of JR Kamakura Station’s East Exit. Hasedera Temple’s gift shop located next to the ticket gate. Kamakura Prince Hotel gift shop.)

*Autographed copies available directly from Andy Barker at photospace_b@yahoo.com (2500 yen within Japan or USD30.00 outside Japan including shipping)
Sample images: http://photospace_b.tripod.com/extras.html

This square book has 60 pages with 59 photos, mostly color. It’s a medium-size book, light enough to carry home and small enough to put on your coffee table along with a few other books.

The pictures are divided into the four seasons, starting with spring. Each picture is captioned in English and Japanese. The book’s design and layout was done by Andy himself and it turned out very nice and attractive.

The pictures show the temples, shrines, festivals, gardens, and people of Kamakura, a former feudal capital city of Japan. This famous city has already been photographed to death, and for this book, Andy avoided including the standard, cliched shots and put in more unique images. For example, the famous Daibutsu statue is photographed at night as well as in snow. The book makes a great gift from Japan.

Andy fell in love with Kamakura decades ago and still goes there to shoot regularly, commuting by bicycle from his home in nearby Zushi. After shooting Kamakura for so many years, you’d think that he has photographed everything already. But apparently not.

Well, that’s the thing about Japan. There is an infinite number of pictures to be captured. Even in the same place or city, it looks different during the four seasons, during different times of day, and during different years. You really have to keep going back if you want to photograph “everything.” The possibilities are endless, and our job of photographing Japan never ends.

Update: Andy Barker’s Kamakura photo book is also available as an app for download on your iPhone or iPod Touch. The price is 230 yen or around $2.50. Just search for Andy Barker and you’ll find the app.

Andy also holds photography classes in English in the Tokyo area. More info here: http://photospace_b.tripod.com/course_descriptions.html

Supermodel Sayoko Yamaguchi dies

I was shocked and saddened to hear that Japan’s one and only super fashion model, Sayoko Yamaguchi, died of acute pneumonia on Aug. 14, 2007. She was 57.

She was by far, my all-time favorite fashion model, even though I never saw her in person. One of the most photogenic women in the world, she was the epitome of Japanese chic and fashion. It wasn’t just the way she looked or what she wore. It was also her attitude and inner spirit.

She was in a class all by herself, and no Japanese fashion model since the 1970s has ever come close to her looks, fashion, mystique, elegance, class, and attitude. She will be sorely missed by the fashion world and photographers alike.

She sought to promote Japan and Japaneseness. Her okappa short bob hairstyle was a trademark. It was the traditional haircut for little Japanese girls. It’s the hairstyle that looks like someone covered her head with a bowl and just cut the hair along the edge of bowl. Straight bangs are cut straight across the forehead, and the rest of her hair is cut straight all around her head.

Who else can make a major fashion impact with this chawan cut?

Another Japanese legend I missed seeing in person.

Read more about Sayoko here:

This guy named ricky liow plagiarized my essay on Sayoko:

Update: The Web host deleted the offending text in June 2010.

Michael E. J. Stanley exhibition, Tokyo, July 27-Aug. 8, 2007

I am an American photographer who has worked in the Japanese magazine
publishing industry for almost three decades. Much of that time has
been spent in working on larger ‘special issue’ articles and I have
essentially ignored the orthodox ‘one-man show’ tradition in serious
photography. Recently, however, I have begun to work my way through
some of my ‘life work’ files (for want of a better term…) and am
preparing some exhibitions. The first of these is scheduled for 27th
July through 8th August at the HAC Gallery in Aoyama. The work I am
preparing is all analog monochrome images done in a somewhat ‘classic’
style, but all were shot underwater in the southern seas (Okinawa and
the Ogasawaras) of Japan. This is not a common genre of photography.

The URL for the gallery’s website is www.hacgallery.com (there is an
English-language option on the site); the URL for my own website,
which shows several online galleries of my work, is
http://mejstanley.com/ There is a mention of this exhibition and a
few samples of the work that will be featured in the show in the ‘News
and Events’ section. E-mail queries can be made through links on
either site.

The HAC Gallery’s address is 2-11-15 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo
107-0062. It is located on Route 246 (Aoyama-dori) between Gaienmae
and Aoyama-Itchome Stations on the Ginza subway line.
The phone number is 03-5772-6225.

Oyako Day Photo Contest, Deadline July 31, 2007

Oyako Day Photo Contest

Send us your most unforgettable family photos!
This year’s theme is “OYAKO SMILE”.
The contest is open to everyone.

Please include “OYAKO photo contest” as your e-mail’s subject line.

July 31, 2007

Prizes: Prizes include Olympus digital camera and Lexmark inkjet printer. More prizes to be announced.

Go to Oyako Day website for more details

Festimage photo contest in Chaves, Portugal

Chaves, a city in northern Portugal, is holding their 2nd international photo contest. They are accepting entries from April 20 to May 25, 2007.

Cash prizes will be awarded, as well as exhibitions of winning works in Chaves. Fifty finalists will be selected by an Admissions Panel comprising of leading photographers from various countries. The public will also be allowed to vote for their favorite.

I will be a member of the Admissions Panel representing Japan.

For more information:


Photo Imaging Expo 2007, Mar. 22-25

On March 22-25, 2007, Photo Imaging Expo (PIE 2007) will be held at Tokyo Big Sight, West Hall 1 to 4.

This is the photo expo in Japan where you can find small-format film and digital cameras and accessories, large-format and professional equipment, and minilabs.

Various seminars, workshops, and entertainment for both business customers and families and children are scheduled.

It is Asia’s largest photo trade show. Opening hours: 10:00 - 17:00 (till 16:00 on last day). Admission 1,000 yen.

English Web site: http://www.photoimagingexpo.com/
The Web site includes information (including rates) on having a booth at the show.

Canon still No. 1 in Dec. 2006

As of Dec. 2006, Canon retains its No. 1 position for the best-selling digital SLR and point-and-shoot digital camera in Japan.

When it was introduced in Sept. 2006, the Kiss Digital X (XTi/400D) dethroned the previous No. 1 selling camera, its predecessor, the Kiss Digital N (XT/350D). It has retained the No. 1 position ever since. Since fall 2003, no other camera maker has ever gotten close to overtaking the Kiss Digital, N, and X cameras (300D/350D/400D).

Newly-introduced cameras tend to immediately grab favorable market share. Nikon introduced two new D-SLRs in the fall so Nikon is currently ahead with regard to total market share of all its D-SLR cameras.

The Nikon D200 is also selling better than the Canon EOS 30D, probably due to pent-up demand caused by the long interval following the previous D100 model. And most EOS 20D owners are not upgrading to the 30D which is viewed as a minor upgrade.

Top Ten Digital SLRs in Japan*
1. Canon Kiss Digital X (XTi/400D), 27.3% of market share
2. Nikon D80, 16.3%
3. Nikon D40, 15.5%
4. Nikon D200, 9.1%
5. Sony alpha 100, 6.3%
6. Pentax K10D, 5.3%
7. Nikon D50, 4.8%
8. Canon EOS Kiss Digital N (XT/350D), 3.3%
9. Pentax K100D, 2.9%
10. Canon 30D, 2.5%

In the compact digital camera market, Canon again is No. 1 in Japan with its popular IXY (Elph) line. The IXY Digital 900 IS (PowerShot SD800 IS Digital ELPH) is the top-selling point-and-shoot digicam in Japan ever since it was introduced in Oct. 2006. With a 28mm wide-angle lens and DIGIC III processor, it replaces the previous No. 1, the Canon IXY Digital 800 IS (PowerShot SD700 IS Digital ELPH).

Canon’s closest rivals are Casio, Sony, and Panasonic. In this market, Nikon is well out of the picture.

In terms of megapixels, 6 meg cameras were most popular up to Sept. 2006. Now 7 meg models are selling the best grabbing almost 50% of the market. Cameras lower than 5 megs were least popular, and 10 meg cameras have less than 10% market share.

Top Ten Compact Digital Cameras in Japan*
1. Canon IXY Digital 900 IS (PowerShot SD800 IS Digital ELPH), 8.9%
2. Panasonic LUMIX FX07, 7.5%
3. Sony Cyber-shot DSC-T10, 6.6%
4. Casio EXILIM EX-Z1000, 4.9%
5. Casio EXILIM EX-Z700, 4.3%
6. Olympus u750, 3.4%
7. FujiFilm FinePix Z5fd, 3.4%
8. Olympus FE-190, 3.2%
9. Nikon COOLPIX S8, 3.1%
10. Sony Cyber-shot T50, 3.1%

Canon’s IXY/Elph line is definitely one of the most appealing and successful camera product lines in history. Canon also celebrated the IXY/Elph’s 10th anniversary this year. See how the camera has morphed over the years, getting better and better while retaining a stylish design.

I also bought the first IXY in 1996 to try out the new APS film. I didn’t like the film format, but I liked the camera. And by coincidence, I ended up buying the 900 IS during this 10th anniversary.

So congratulations to Canon! We look forward to seeing more new and exciting cameras and features in the new year.

*As of Dec. 10, 2006, according to BCN Ranking magazine which ranks cameras weekly based on POS sales statistics gathered from over 2,000 computer and camera shops in Japan (including Amazon.jp).

Related article:
Interview with Canon’s camera development director

Looking at photos forestalls senility?

Interesting program on NHK TV the other night about senility (Alzheimer’s Disease, etc.).

Senility occurs when the brain shrinks or parts of it disappear. The program introduced various ways to slow down the disease with drugs, etc.

There was this 60-something old woman with mild dementia and her 70-something old husband who was dedicated to rehabilitate her.

At home, they had 2 large walls covered with nostalgic snapshots of her and her husband on trips, etc. They would routinely look at a few photos and the husband would ask her where it was taken and other questions to try and jog her memory. She usually had a hard time remembering, but it did stimulate her brain which was very important.

Apparently, recalling the past requires brain activity. And this is good brain exercise when it has to open all those old drawers full of memories.

That’s great to know because I’m really the nostalgic type who likes to look at my past pictures and recall all the good times and good people I came across in my life since childhood.

I better put up more nostalgic pictures on my walls. I should also take this opportunity to thank all the people who made my life so memorable and happy. I will always remember you. Thank you.

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