In My Taste: Photographs with Contemporary Qualities

Right out of college I became a curator at a museum specializing in nihonga, or Japanese-style painting, where I worked to organize exhibitions, workshops, lectures, and other events. A particularly important part of my job was putting together the exhibition catalog, which got me started on learning about book production. The creation of books involves a wide range of professionals, from designers to photographers to printing operators and more. I was especially drawn to photography—which in those days was done not in digital format, but mostly on positive film—and began viewing works by different artists.

Nobuyoshi Araki and Daido Moriyama, for example, were regulars then in photography magazines, and once in Chicago I happened to go visit a group exhibition at a local museum where I ran into the works of Hiroshi Sugimoto. What a real surprise it was for me to see that Japanese photographers were out there making careers for themselves in the wider world! Since that discovery I became absolutely captivated by photography. The Bechers, Thomas Ruff, Cindy Sherman, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Larry Clark were a few back then whose works I spent a lot of time seeing.

The photographers I present here have been chosen in light of what I’ve found good about the artists who have appealed to me over the years. I’m especially interested in works with contemporary qualities. Although landscapes and street snapshots attract me as well, this time I put them aside to focus instead of works by young photographers displaying solid conceptualization and a high degree of polish. A few of the six are already active overseas; all are certain to become exciting names both in and out of Japan in the years to come.

Yoshihiro Ikka
Libro Arte

(translated by Chikako Imoto)