Kyotographie 2016: Science, Fashion

First-rate annual photography festival in Kyoto

By Lee Tan    - 3 min read

Kyotographie's 4th edition brings international and Japanese photography works to the city for all to enjoy. The exhibitions are held at various locations around Kyoto, and is a good chance to get off the tourist trail and check out little known gems such as Toraya Gallery and Nagae Residence. The best way to see all the exhibitions is to purchase a festival passport for 3,200 yen, which allows one-time entry to all venues, and hire a bicycle to get around.

In this second part, we continue our highlights of this brilliant photography festival, which runs from 23 April to 22 May 2016.

Christian Sardet's Plankton

Part science, part photography and part art, this wonderful exhibition is a must-see of the festival. Christian Sardet has been capturing the beauty and diversity of planktons for years. He calls the images, shot using macro and micro-photography, portraits. The results are beguiling and fascinating, and these organisms look outerworldly and gem-like. The dark exhibition room at the Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art Annex brings out their luminosity. In the next room, Shiro Takatani's mesmerising visual installation of the images plays in light boxes to ambient music by Ryuichi Sakamoto.

Location: Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art Annex, 13 Okazaki Saishoji-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto. Entry fee: 800 yen

Qian Haifeng's The Green Train

Qian's battle with an illness prompted travels in his homeland, China. Without much money, he took to riding the 'green train' used by the poor and started documenting the people who shared the trips with him. An amateur photographer, he works as an electronics technician at a hotel, Qian has captured a slice of life in China that is rarely seen. Great work by a newly discovered talent.

Location: ROHM Theatre Kyoto, 13 Okazaki Saisyoji-machi, Sakyo, Kyoto. Entry fee: Free

Guimet National Museum of Asian Arts

It's all about tea at this archival exhibition by Guimet National Museum of Asian Arts in Paris. There are 28-Meiji -period photos in the show, with some dating as far back as 1875. These rare vintage prints show the various aspects of tea, from plantation fields to tea houses and tea ceremonies. To complete your visit, drop by Toraya's tea room next door.

Location: Toraya Kyoto Gallery, 400 Hirohashidono-cho, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto. Entry fee: Free.

Coming into Fashion: A Century of Photography at Condé Nast

If you like fashion photography, you will relish this exhibition from Condé Nast's archives. Magazines like Vogue have been at the forefront of fashion photography, and this is an interesting look at how the industry's tastes and style has changed through the ages. You'll find prints by Edward Steichen, Irving Penn and Mario Testino here.

Location: Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art Annex, 13 Okazaki Saishoji-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto. Entry fee: Free

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Lee Tan

Lee Tan @lee.tan

Writer, photographer and traveller.

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