Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ever looked at some of the photography which is popular in Japan and wondered why? Not just because like lots of art you have to be steeped in a gazillion years of art history, and art, and have much experience using such terminology as "texture" and tonality and such to explain something that you really don't get, but because it is really outside what you observe or practice yourself. (In other words, you wonder what makes photos of overhead electric lines art.)

I don't give much credence to the East is East and West is West and ne'r the twain shall meet way of thinking, and I have a knee jerk reaction to "Japan is the only country..." but some of the photography is puzzling to say the least. (OK, so is some---much---of Western photography outside of landscape/wildlife).

Anyway, there is a new online magazine called Trans Asia Photography Review, which in it's inaugural issue promises to look at the relationship of culture with photography. Not that everyone accepts the East-is-East stuff:

Non-Asia looks at Asia in a certain way, and therefore Asia looks at, and projects itself, like that too. A couple of centuries ago, this was called Colonialism or Imperialism. Then Edward Said called it Orientalism.

Now it is called Context, and the right-minded, well-intentioned, academically respectable sound of the word obscures the structures of power/knowledge/funding that create this primacy of Context.This is why I am profoundly uncomfortable with the notion of Asia (or any other region) as context – especially when that notion is created and sustained in the non-Asian parts of the world, and then globalized. Aveek SEN, Trans Asia Photography Review.

Written from a more academic perspective, it still promises to be of interest to anyone interested in Asia and art, especially photography. And believe it or not, Japan is considered part of Asia on that site!!!!

For some reason, I cannot get links to stick without going into HTML. Is blogger run by JAL?

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