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The Beauty of Japan Photographed
11 January 2000 March 2000

The exhibition is opened with the works of Watanabe Yoshio (born in 1907). The master who played an important role in the development of the Japanese photography of the 20th century became in 1973 the Vice-President of the Japanese Photographic Society, and in 1978 he headed the Society of the Japanese Photographers. In 1990 Yoshio was the first of the photographers to be granted the title of an outstanding culture promoter in Japan.

The series shown at the exhibition represents the ancient sanctuary Ise. This sanctuary is devoted to Goddess Amaterashu who gave start to the dynasty of the Japanese emperors, and to the God of Gramineae, Toyoki. Watanabe who spared a lot of effort to obtain permission to take pictures in the home of gods made his shooting several times - in 1953, then in 1973 and 1993, after the reconstruction. The master considers the architecture of this complex to embody the essence of the Japanese aesthetics. The refined compositions and the soft colours of Watanabe's photoes convey ideally the spirit of the ancient sanctuary.

One of the leaders of the realistic trend in the Japanese photography, Domon Ken, was working for many years as a documentary photographer. His life's work, however, became the series "A Trip to the Ancient Temples". Most of the pieces presented at our exhibition make part of these series. It includes the pictures made in 39 different buddhistic temples in Japan. They give a new approach on the beauty and impact of the buddhistic art.

Ishimoto Yasuhiro was born and grown up in the USA. Having graduated from the Chicago Design Institute, he assimilated the main principles of the modern Western photography. Later, when Yasuhiro moved to Japan, he introduced those fresh ideas into the world of the Japanese photographers. Here the master received one of the most interesting commissions in his life to produce a series of pictures of the Emperor's palace Katsuro built in Kyoto in the 7th century.

In the architecture of the villa based on the functionality principle, Ishimoto saw the roots of the modern design. This is the reason why the main motif of the artist' black-and-white photoes are the formal elements and the spacial links between them.

Detail of the Bronze Statue of Sakyamuni at Asuka-dera
Larger view

Horyu-ji Seen from Kozen
Larger view

The Front Plank Door of the Main Sanctuary and the Wooden Staircase, Inner Shrine
Larger view

Middle Shoin, Right,
the New Goten, Left;
Viewed from the East Veranda of the Music Room in the Middle

Larger view



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