Kyotographie

A young, kimono-clad woman, visiting the Kyoto museum, takes some time to check the beautiful high-rez photographs of Mars.

A young, kimono-clad woman, visiting the Kyoto museum, takes some time to check the beautiful high-rez photographs of Mars.

Kyoto has become the home of a new, international photography festival: Kyotographie. Into its second, annual iteration, the three week long festival of exhibits, talks and workshops wrapped up on May 11th. The theme this year was Environments, and the flagship exhibit was a collection of gorgeous, amazingly detailed photographs taken of the surface of Mars. Viewing the geography of an alien world can play tricks on the mind. Even the curator, Xavier Barral, noted that his first impression was a sense of not being sure what he was looking at.

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People watch from beanbags, as Mars is painted onto the large projector screen. The soundtrack was the sound of wind, adjusted and deepened to resemble that of Mars.

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A different representation of the Martian landscape.

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Photographs of Mars taken by NASA, and curated by Xavier Barral.

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Exhibits were held across Kyoto city, with fifteen main exhibits featuring established artists from across the world, as well as fifty emerging artists shown through the new KG+ programme. Passport holders travel through the city, exploring suburbs and spaces they may never usually visit, adding to the sense of adventure and discovery.

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The exhibit, Still Crazy, was held in a shrine in northern Kyoto.

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Photos were arranged in the room that the Japanese emperor uses when he visits Kyoto.

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Still Crazy, is a photo series by Taishi Hirokawa, of nuclear plants in the Japanese landscape. Many shots show how close these plants are to where people live.

Many photographers like Akiko Takizawa, Tim Flach and Stanely Greene, held public talks.

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Japanese photographer, Akiko Takizawa, and Simon Baker, discussing her collotype photographic style, and the inspiration to her series, Were We Belong.

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Animal photographer Tim Flach, creator of the More Than Human series, playing an illusionary trick on the audience. What do you see?

And in the Japanese Photobooks exhibit, creative duo MP1, recreated a multi-layered shot they took in the dark German woods, inside a studio using mirrors and lights. Other workshops around the city included making a collotype photo, children’s photography and story writing workshops, or experiencing tea ceremony in traditional Kyoto machiya buildings.

For those who didn't have the chance to see the workshop, there were a selection of photobooks, covering an amazing diversity of subjects, to enjoy.

For those who didn’t have the chance to see the workshop, there were a selection of photo books, covering an amazing diversity of subjects, to enjoy.

Kyotographie 2014 was an amazing festival, with a huge variety of both exhibits and interactive programmes. Having the chance to meet and listen to creators and artists, discussing their work, and showing their passion for it, deepened the festival experience. Travelling around Kyoto, searching through the streets for bright Kyotographie flags, was fun, and illuminating. Despite only being a very new festival in international terms, Kyotographie puts on a great show, and has a long future ahead of it.

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