The eye of the photographer
KYOTOGRAPHY is the Kyoto International Photography Festival, now recognized as one of the world's leading photographic events. Every year in the spring, it hosts the works of international artists uniquely staged in traditional and contemporary settings of Kyoto. Beyond the art exhibited, KYOTOGRAPHY promotes opportunities and connections between all ages, cultures, and backgrounds.
The KYOTOGRAPHIE festival was initiated in 2013 by two passionate photographers: the French Lucille Reyboz and the Japanese Yusuke Nakanishi. Settled in Kyoto after the 2011 earthquake and the resulting Fukushima disaster, they imagined KYOTOGRAPHIE with the will to create a platform to federate people and value Japanese photography, still underrepresented at that time.
The idea is to use the city of Kyoto and its cultural dimension as a playground to bring together works and people, to encourage encounters, and to open photography to a new audience.
Since then, KYOTOGRAPHY has gained a worldwide reputation and has succeeded in placing Kyoto at the heart of the international photographic scene. The festival has attracted more than one million visitors from Japan and abroad since its inception, and continues to attract more than 170,000 people each year.
Every spring for a month, artists from all walks of life exhibit their photographs in original settings in the heart of unique places in Kyoto, both traditional and contemporary, and usually closed to the public.
The festival is spread in the heart of the city and allows to (re)discover it in its entirety, in various places, each one more atypical than the other: tea house, old school, Meiji era bank, temples, and gardens, or even kimono workshops are used as temporary exhibition rooms. The objective? To create subtle scenographies, where works and spaces enter in harmony in order to encourage generational and cultural exchanges.
Now, KYOTOGRAPHIE is getting a permanent space with DELTA, a hybrid space between a café-bistro, exhibition gallery, and accommodation born in autumn 2020. Located in the heart of Kyoto, in the former Demachi Masugata shopping mall and a stone's throw from the Kamo-gawa river, this space will become an extension of the festival throughout the year and will invite a new artist to its walls every month.
"ONE", 2022 edition
The latest edition, 2022, is symbolic in the history of KYOTOGRAPHIE as it celebrates the 10th anniversary of the festival. Created around the theme "ONE", this edition has a double interpretation. "ONE", evokes the uniqueness of each person, the individuality and characteristics that constitute their singularity.
The 2022 edition also wanted to highlight the expression "One is Ten". Beyond the wordplay that matches the tenth anniversary, "One is Ten" denotes the collective aspect that is created when individualities come together and add up to form one. "One" would represent uniqueness while "Ten" would be a marker of the collective in which each person would form a whole.
More than ever, this double interpretation makes sense with the recent world conflicts. With this edition, Lucille Reyboz and Yusuke Nakanishi, the founders, wished to show that no singularity, no life deserved to be sacrificed "in the name of a totalitarian cause that falsely claims to be representative of the whole."
A few photos here, highlight the uniqueness of each person in a collective dimension.
"ECHO", 2021 edition
9th edition of the festival, "ECHO" represents the influence of the past on the present. 2021 marked the second year in the face of Covid-19 and its consequences on societies around the world, but also the tenth anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami that caused the nuclear disaster in Fukushima. These two events raise questions about the role played by humanity on its environment over the last few years.
Through the proposed exhibitions, the idea is to push the reflection on the role of Man in the repetition of disasters and to raise awareness on things to change. Lucille Reyboz and Yusuke Nakanishi insist here: "The history of the past, which until now has not listened to the cry of the earth, echoes (response) to the present."
The intention then is to make people think through photographs that show the impact of the past on the present.
Discover "ECHO", the differences between the past and the present, and the influence one has on the other!
"VISION", 2020 edition
"Vision" is an edition set in a particular context: the beginnings of the Covid-19 pandemic.
How did the idea of the "vision" theme emerged? Because of the particular situation, the organizers wanted to show that changing our vision of things and of our environment was necessary before we could change our world. The idea was to present, through photography, different visions, and perspectives that could be offered to us in the long term.
This eighth edition of KYOTOGRAPHIE is one of the first to bring such depth to its conception and its relationship to the world. To be optimistic about the awakening of consciousness by highlighting a realistic vision of the world: this is the KYOTOGRAPHIE 2020 festival.
To support this relationship to the world that must be changed, Lucille Reyboz and Yusuke Nakanishi compare our narrow vision of the world to myopia: seeing close up (short term) with great difficulty in seeing far away (the future).
"VIBE", 2019 edition
The seventh edition of KYOTOGRAPHY, focused on the word "VIBE" took place from April 13 to May 12, 2019. These vibes, which can be both positive or negative, invade us at all moments of our daily lives and have an impact on our experiences. It is therefore around this theme that the 2019 exhibitions have been thought of. Understanding through art, how the "vibe" around a moment can influence its perception, its memory, but also the emotions felt is a unique and atypical experience.
The artworks have been spread all over the city, in historical places like Nijo castle or Ryosokuin Buddhist temple, as well as in modern buildings like Horikawa Oike gallery or y gion reception hall.
The art pieces of Weronika Gęsicka, Albert Watson, Ismaïl Bahri, to name only a few, were exhibited with a goal specific to this seventh edition: to make the invisible visible by trying to represent the different declensions of the "vibe".
"UP", 2018 edition
The sixth edition of the French-Japanese festival KYOTOGRAPHIE, had "UP" as its theme. The idea is to take some height, to approach things with a different perspective, as much in our thoughts as in our actions. Whether it is sports, demonstrations, the fight against global warming, or simply self-perception... each time, taking altitude allows us to revolutionize things.
With this idea of changing personally and changing the world, "UP" has been forward-thinking in preparing the 2020 edition, with both themes joining a common guideline: approaching life differently.
"LOVE", 2017 edition
The 5th edition of KYOTOGRAPHY celebrated love through photography. With "LOVE", artists and visitors were invited to think of photography as a love affair with life, as love connects to others, to nature, but also to everything that can surround us. Although unique to each person, the vision of love can be extended and rediscovered through art: this was the objective of this edition.
In the spotlight, 16 exhibitions focused on sharing different visions of love and diversity, through the intimate eyes of each photographer. To create a real moment of connection, the festival offered MasterClass of two world-renowned photographers: Zalene Muholi and Isabel Muñoz. These moments of sharing with the artists allowed everyone to expand their vision of love.
It's a great opportunity to discover Kyoto from another angle at a delightful and flourishing time of year. See you in the spring!
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