Over the past few of weeks I’ve been ruminating about the ways we look at photography in digital and analog forms: first it was 10×10, a mostly-offline event for looking at photobooks, then Shashasha, an iPad app that’s opening up Japanese (and Asian) photobooks to a worldwide audience. Falling in somewhere between these two groups is Space Cadet, a Tinyvices-esque web gallery which features the work of 33 young photographers in Japan—I can’t say “33 Japanese photographers” because American Patrick Tsai (who I interviewed last year) has managed to infiltrate the group! Space Cadet is a very useful site for anyone interested in young Japanese photographers: despite the fact that interest in Japanese photography is extremely high, it’s surprisingly difficult for photographers to show their work to people in foreign countries (for reasons that I won’t attempt to explain here). I should also mention the Japanese web sites Parapera and TRYNOME as similarly useful sites for people looking to discover new work from Asia.
In any case, Space Cadet is holding a physical exhibition in Tokyo at the moment, fittingly titled “Actual Exhibition #2.” It’s at a large space which actually gives the 27 participating artists more space to show their works than you might imagine possible in a Tokyo gallery. There are quite a range of works on display; from Daisuke Yokota’s harsh black-and-white images to more vibrant color works by snapshot photographers like Mika Kitamura. A number of the photographers might could be called “contemporary” for their non-traditional approach to photography, but Hideki Makiguchi caught my eye for his understated approach to straight imagery.
If you happen to be in Tokyo at the moment, I would certainly recommend checking it out; it’s at Turner Gallery, which is in a somewhat out-of-the-way location, but here is an exact map to the space. “Actual Exhibition #2” is up until Sunday, which is actually something of a problem: if the idea of having an IRL exhibition is to give these young artists a chance to push their careers along, a one-week show is almost self-defeating. Forget about foreigners who might happen to be in Tokyo—with only a week there’s even a good chance that local people won’t be able to see it! Of course, there is a good reason that the show is so short, namely the fact that the space does not come for free, but it still seems a little unfortunate for the photographers that they can’t show their work for longer. Here’s to hoping that more than a few of them will be able to properly launch their careers—or graduate from the academy, as it were?