Doing What We Can Because of Who We Are

Bloom Gallery opened in the Juso district of Osaka in 2009, seven years ago this past May. Over our career as an art space devoted to photography, we have organized more than one hundred exhibitions focused on our twin goals of introducing artists connected with western Japan throughout the country and beyond, and bringing noted artists throughout the country and beyond here to Osaka.

Our mission: to fulfill the work of a regional gallery—to do what we can precisely because we are a regional gallery.

The unprecedented Tohoku disasters of 2011 clearly and utterly changed people’s values in Japan; or perhaps we might rather claim that those events dramatically boosted the change that had already been slowly building in response to such ongoing trends as the new modes of communication made possible by the advent of social media. In recent years I have been seeing an increasing number of artists deliberately turn not to Tokyo, but to cities out in the regions as the base for an international career. These artists sustain a loose network of connections with other localities and welcome collaboration with other genres, easily cutting across boundaries in their pursuit of a free range of activities. Aside from such attention-grabbing success stories, though, I must also say that a great many regional artists still find it difficult to actively reach out to a wide audience.

It is with this background in mind that I present here for Fraction Magazine Japan my selection of photographers associated with western Japan. By way of reexamining the nature of photography as a recording medium—as a means of documenting city life or one’s childhood home, for example—I focus especially on those artists who portray places that are close to them physically or in some other way. Comparing their works, we will gain an understanding of their differing perspectives and attitudes toward “the city” while also attaining diverse insights of our own.

My picks represent only a small part of the many many inspiring photographers and works to be discovered in cities outside the capital. The “bloom” in our gallery name means to flower, or in other words to grow. Gallerists cannot exist without artists, and artists likewise need gallerists to help get their creations out into the world. That is why at Bloom Gallery we emphasize teaming closely with artists so that we may both grow as we search together for ways to make their works be known.

And always, we uphold our mission to fulfill the work of a regional gallery, to do what we can precisely because we are a regional gallery.

Now and into the future we pledge to continue introducing artists based on our standpoint as a locally grounded gallery. We welcome any inquiries you may have regarding the artists or works you encounter in this feature.

Hiroko Kuboyama/ Bloom Gallery

( translated by Chikako Imoto)