Tokyo Photo 2013

Tokyo Photo, apparently Asia’s largest photography fair, has changed venues from Tokyo Midtown to Zojoji Temple in Shibadaimon.

Yesterday R. and I made the long train trip on the Oedo Line, deep under Tokyo, to Daimon Station. From there, Zojoji Temple — a.k.a. The Wolverine’s temple… you know, from the Yakuza funeral scene? — is a five-minute walk. Exit A3 and turn left. You’ll see a gate and Tokyo Tower in the background. The entrance for Tokyo Photo is actually the Black Gate, less than a hundred meters to the left of the main Red Gate.

The site itself looks interesting and worth exploring; perhaps another time. But what was with the forlorn guy waving a large-sized Japanese Imperial flag at anyone who caught his eye?

Highlights for R. and me at yesterday’s show included John Divola’s black and white sequence, “Dogs Chasing My Car in the Desert”  from the Tate Modern (read John Sevigny’s analysis in Guernica), selections from William Klein’s Tokyo, and Ikko Narahara’s Highway Telephone and Lightning, New Mexico, from the MoMA Collection.

So who is the intended audience for Tokyo Photo? Certainly there were enough photographers – mostly men – with cameras in hand or stashed in bags, DSLRs and Leica-style rangefinders alike. Plus gallery owners and staff. Judging from the sponsors, however, I would guess the organizers, or at least the sponsors, are aimed at the art collector crowd. Thus, Nespresso was on hand with free coffee and espresso; Hasselblad, fresh after opening its first retail outlet in Japan, represented with a gallery of Hassleblad Masters and one each of a Hasselblad Stellar and Lunar mirrorless camera under glass. And, somewhat disconcertingly, Lexus dominated the premiere exhibit space in Hall C with an engine from, and photographs of, well, a Lexus. Reminded me a bit of that scene in Donnie Darko. You know, where the airplane jet engine crashes into the Darko house…

Edit: In keeping with the previous observations about intended audience, R. tells me that the seminar sponsored by Delta Airlines explained how to become a collector of fine art photography… 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s