Book: The 2nd Tokyo International Photo-Biennale

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Book review of The 2nd Tokyo International Photo-Biennale catalog. Catalog showing the works by successful entrants of the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography's 2nd Tokyo International Photo-Biennale held in 1997.

The 2nd Tokyo International Photo-Biennale

Reviewed on: May 8, 1999 Last modified: 2005-04-03 Published: July 1997 Publisher: Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography ISBN: -- Price in Japan: ¥2, Qualities: Soft cover, color and B/W photos Size: A4, 204 pp. Language: Japanese and English

The Tokyo International Photo-Biennale is held once every two years by the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. The first one was held in 1995 and it solicited entries from any country (over 17,000 poured in). For the 2nd one in 1997, the Museum scaled back and required overseas entrants to have a representative in Japan. For the 3rd one held this year in 1999, the Museum scaled back even more and did not accept any entries from the public. It now features only artists selected by prominent curators in Japan and overseas. It is sad to see this contest become closed to the public.

From March 25, 1996 to Dec. 25, 1996, the museum publicly solicited entries for the 2nd Tokyo International Photo-Biennale. Anyone, professional or amateur, could submit works which have not won any photo contests in the past. Overseas entrants had to find a representative residing in Japan.

From among 672 entrants who submitted a total of 6,102 works, 40 finalists were selected. Eight of the 40 finalists won cash prizes and 10 others won camera equipment from ten camera makers. The top prize was worth 1 million yen. The works of all 40 finalists were exhibited at the museum. The winners and finalists are listed below and their best photos are printed in this catalog.

Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography Director's Award (1 million yen)

Melvin Clayton Farrington, Ten Years in the American Navy

Excellence Award (500,000 yen)

Aya Kida, Happy Birthday to You

Robert E. Holmgren, Life Samples

Incentive Award (300,000 yen)

Chizu Ono

Hiroshi Ono

Hideki Casai

Tomoko Miyamoto

Ko Yamada

Participating Companies Awards (Camera equipment)

Takahito Ochiai (Olympus Award)

Shin'ichiro Kobayashi (Canon Award)

Frederic Sapey-Triomphe (Contax Award)

Lucien Samaha (Konica Award)

Yukiko Tasaki (Minolta Award)

Mika Tanimoto (Kodak Award)

Kinuyo Hagiwara (Polaroid Award)

Toshiya Momose (FujiFilm Award)

Hiroko Yuasa (Nikon Award)

Fumiko Wakamatsu (Pentax Award)

Other Finalists Akane Asaoka, Masanori Ashida, Sechul Oh, Hirokatsu Ouchi, Yuji Ozeki, Takeshi Kawamoto, Keizo Kioku, Ayako Kikuchi, Tadao Kimura, Jennifer Grossblatt*, Hideki Kuwajima, Sakurako Shibata, Yasushi Sugimata, Nobuhiko Nagata, Michiru Narutaki, Yoshiki Nishimura, Mitsuko Hirano, Hideki Miyazaki, Bernard Morales, Kirito Yanase, Noriko Yamaguchi, Rob Lange. *Sponsored by PhotoGuide Japan.

The judges were Tamon Miki (Museum Director), Yasuhiro Ishimoto (photographer), Kazuko Koike (Musashino Art Univ. professor), and Shinya Fujiwara (photographer).

This Biennale also had an Invitational Section which exhibited works by artists invited to exhibit their work. They are Patricia Piccinini of Australia; Kenji Ota, Lucia Mindlin Loeb, Eustaquio Neves, Marcela Hara, and Rochelle Costi of Brazil; Patrick Tosani of France; The Limbus Group, Gilad Ophir, and Simcha Shirman of Israel (link to interARTisrael); Abelardo Morell and Thomas Roma of the U.S.; and Yuki Onodera of Japan. These invited artists were selected by Judy Annear (Australia), Nair Benedicto (Brazil), Suzanne Page (France), Nissan N. Perez (Israel), Sandra S. Phillips (U.S.A.), and Fuminori Yokoe (Japan).

When the Museum solicited entries for the 2nd Tokyo International Photo-Biennale, PhotoGuide Japan offered (for free) to represent anyone overseas wanting to enter this photo contest. (The museum required overseas entrants to have a representative in Japan.) One of the people who responded to my offer was Jennifer Grossblatt, a lawyer and photographer in Los Angeles, California. She sent me 20 compelling photos of young runaways living on the streets of Hollywood. I was very impressed by both the subject matter and the quality of her photography. Apparently the Biennale judges thought so too since they picked her to be one of the 40 Biennale finalists from among 672 entrants who submitted a total of 6,102 works.

As a finalist, she earned the honor of having her 20 photos displayed in the huge museum for the 2nd Tokyo International Photo-Biennale 1997 Exhibition from July 12 to Aug. 31, 1997. A few of her photos are in this catalog. (Reviewed by Philbert Ono)