IIZAWA Kohtaro

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IIZAWA Kohtaro 飯沢 耕太郎 (1954- ) Miyagi Pref.

Japan's most widely-published and well-known photo critic. Conversant in Swahili.

Education Attended high school in Sendai. Graduated from Nihon Univ.'s photography dept. in 1977. Completed graduate work in art research at Tsukuba Univ. in 1984.

Career Chief editor of deja-vu magazine 1990-1994. Prolific author of photo criticism books.

Book review below.

Shutter and Love (シャッター&ラヴ)

Excellent introduction to 16 of Japan's up-and-coming female photographers: Yurie Nagashima, Saori Tsuji, Masako Kobayashi, Mie Iizuka, Yasuko Shiratsuchi, Koide Nakashima, Ayako Kaneko, Aiko Nakano, Yukari Ojima, Maya, Mariko Takahashi, Miwa Tosaki, Manaco Okamoto, Kumi Oka, Aya Fujioka, and Mika Ninagawa.


Published: May 27, 1996

Publisher: Infas

ISBN: 4900785059

Price in Japan: ¥2,800

Qualities: Soft cover, color photos

Size: A4, 183 pp. Language: Japanese and English

If you want to learn about today's young female photographers in Japan, this is probably the best book you could buy. It is an excellent introduction to this interesting breed of photographers and their work.

The book was conceived and edited by Kohtaro Iizawa, Japan's most prominent photo critic and writer who is armed with a Ph.D degree. He describes and explains the recent penetration of young women into what used to be a man's world of photography in Japan. The historical background is interesting reading and an English translation is provided.

The bulk of the book shows the photographs taken by sixteen young female photographers. Five to ten photos are shown for each photographer. The photos basically focus on the photographer herself (like nude self portraits) or people, things, and places around them. The photos are diverse, but they are presented in an coherent series for each photographer. Lengthy interviews of four of the photographers conducted by Iizawa are also presented. English translations are not provided.

At the back of the book, a short biography of all the photographers and Iizawa's commentaries of their work are provided in English and Japanese. Most of the photographers have won some major photo contest like the New Cosmos of Photography contest sponsored by Canon. So they are already one notch above the high school-girl category of photo diary shooting.

The book features the following sixteen female photographers: Yurie Nagashima, Saori Tsuji, Masa Kobayashi, Mie Iizuka, Yasuko Shiratsuchi (photographer of the book's cover photo), Koide Nakashima, Ayako Kaneko, Aiko Nakano, Yukari Ojima, Maya, Mariko Takahashi, Miwa Tosaki, Manaco Okamoto, Kumi Oka, Aya Fujioka, and Mika Ninagawa.

Yurie Nagashima is the only really famous one in this group. She has since kept a low profile (by going to school in Seattle, Washington to study skateboarding), but her contributions are well remembered. (See PhotoWho'sWho for a brief biography.) The book is very attractive and colorful with matte pages. (Reviewed by Philbert Ono) Reviewed on: Jan. 11, 1998