Sparkle, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Collection Exhibition

《薩摩切子》1973年 ©高知県,石元泰博フォトセンター ※被写体は尚古集成館所蔵 
Satsuma Kiriko, 1973 ©Kochi Prefecture, IshimotoYasuhiro Photo Center *Satsuma Koriko item from the collection of Shoko Shuseikan Museum.

This year’s first Ishimoto Yasuhiro Collection Exhibition revolves all around “sparkles” as a central theme, presented in the form of photographs of various items made of glass, earthenware or lacquer ware. Most of the works, capturing different objects and made at different times, were made on request from clients.

Satsuma Kiriko and Glassware, photographs that each showcase the brilliantly meticulous handiwork of artisans, appeared in 1974 on both color and black-and-white photo spreads in the magazine Sekai (Iwanami Shoten). The exhibition this time features black and white prints mainly of the shots that appeared in the magazine. In these pictures with the color element removed, the original objects’ color gradients manifest themselves in complex shades of gray that express the precision of their designs in a rather straight fashion, while also emphasizing their sense of presence.

Medical Glass and Industrial Glass were both specially made for the PR magazine P&P by Nippon Electric Glass Co., Ltd. Ishimoto, who frequently shot photographs for corporate public relations purposes, started working on these series in the 1970s. Different from household glassware, the subjects here are glass products that people are less familiar with from everyday life. The photographs convey the distinct transparency, elegant contours and minute structures of these objects in impressive, dramatic arrangements that communicate at once the photographer’s respect for the company, and their attitude toward manufacturing and supplying the world with high-quality products.

Likewise, the photographs of products designed by Yanagi Sori, a leading figure in postwar Japanese design who also maintained a close relationship with Ishimoto, were shot for the Takenaka Corporation’s PR magazine approach. Furthermore, the exhibition features photographs of lacquer ware and flower vases from the “Shape” series dedicated to Japanese industrial products, that elaborately highlight the items’ smooth textures.

Crystallizing in these works is the attitude of Ishimoto Yasuhiro, as he earnestly approached his subjects in order to meet the demand of his clients. The original prints, on the other hand, that Ishimoto himself made with special dedication, are again diverse expressions of the sparkle that arises from the texture and the luster of the material itself, as well as from the artisans’ fine manual skills.

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