Went to see Japan’s largest camera show that is CP+ 2015 in Yokohama on Feb. 14, 2015. Good weather, no snow, and lots of people.
First I attended a talk by special guest Martin Parr in a large conference room at 11 am. He showed slides of his collection of photos on plates and trays, photos of Margaret Thatcher (whom he hated) on various paraphernalia, and other things. Then he showed images from several of his photo books. He’s British and basically a street photographer (besides being the president of Magnum Photos). He is always pursuing different shooting themes. One favorite theme is the beach. Although he travels the world, much of his work focuses on his home country in the UK.
Another theme is boring and mundane scenes. He even went to a town called Boring, Oregon and made of photo book of it. Many names on signs were preceded by “Boring” so it made for some funny official signs like “Boring Town Office.”
He pointed out that photos of mundane scenes which nobody photographs (like one of a woman filling gas at a gas station) become interesting after time. I certainly agree with this, but you may have to reach certain age before you can realize and appreciate this.
He even made an “awful” photo book showing awful photos with awful book/graphic design printed on bad paper with printing mistakes. His photo book of “bad weather” photos was also opposite of what most people like to shoot (nice sunny days). He has a playful attitude and always pushing his own imagination as to what to pursue.
I really enjoyed his talk and slides, but was disappointed that he did not show his photos of Japan. He has about 100 photo books to his credit. However, compared to Araki Nobuyoshi and Moriyama Daido, he called himself an “amateur” since Araki has published several hundred photo books. Perhaps he didn’t want us to compare his “amateurish” street photos of Japan with Araki’s/Daido’s. Or perhaps he didn’t want to show clichéd photos we’ve already seen.
He admits that he takes lots of photos so he can chose the best ones. Most shots are not usable he said. Well, that goes for most of us.
Martin talked for an hour and the last 30 min. was a Q&A session. I was able to ask him what Japanese photographers should do to become more well-known outside Japan. His answer was, “Take great photographs.” He also advised that being able to speak English also helps. He cited Kawauchi Rinko as one of his favorite Japanese photographers. When he met her 10 years ago at Rencontres d’Arles festival, Arles, France in 2004, she didn’t know anyone in Europe and couldn’t speak English well. But now she has improved her English and has friends in Europe.
Another foreign person in the audience asked Martin about model releases for his street photos. Martin replied that he does not ask anyone for any model releases. “It’s not a problem in Europe or the US.” Martin was surprised to hear that it was stricter in Japan. However, I doubt that most street photographers in Japan actually obtain model releases. The chances of being sued for a street photo you publish in a book, etc., is so slim. As long it’s not for advertising or commercial purposes.
Martin also mentioned that they want more diversity in male-dominated Magnum Photos. So they are looking for young Japanese photographers (especially female). So apply if you think you qualify.
As for the camera show, all the major Japanese players were there as usual. GoPro was missing, but Chinese quadcopter drone maker had a booth strewn with their quadcopters including one that was flying tethered above a stage. Their cheapest model can fly for about 25 min. They also had a large, expensive model that can carry a Canon 5D D-SLR camera aloft.
NHK was demonstrating 8K video which looked nice, but can’t really tell it apart from 4K. They should have a side-by-screen with 4K for comparison.
What stole the show in my mind was the Profoto/Hasselblad booth’s fashion show featuring young female amputees in a fashion/cosplay show for artificial legs. Very impressive. Hats off to the girls and the people who staged the show that was held only on the 14th.