Friday, March 19, 2010
Yasuhiro Ishimoto: Katsura Photographs
Weirdly only open for two days in DC, the show of Yashuhiro Ishimoto's gorgeous black and white photos of the Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto is a knockout: stark, beautifully composed images that emphasize the ancient palace's parallels with the modernist architecture Ishimoto was enamored of at the time. They are also rich in contrast and texture, which was, for me, a refreshing reminder that nothing digital compares to old fashioned gelatin silver prints.
Interestingly, Ishimoto returned to the Imperial Villa more than twenty years later to photograph it in color. By then, his thinking had changed. The later images question the "less is more" aesthetic he embraced in the earlier ones and apparently reveal the lush pleasures the palace's architecture and surrounding grounds offer. I only wish some of those had been included. The images above are examples of his two approaches.