Photo Express Tokyo No. 1 - 12

Keizo Kitajima,Photo Express Tokyo No. 1 - 12

Keizo Kitajima
Photo Express Tokyo No. 1 - 12

Photographs: Keizo Kitajima

Publisher: Paroru sha, Tokyo

16 pages

Year: 1979

Comments: Softcover, 258 mm × 183 mm

sold

On the evidence of these photographs, and his approach to exhibiting his work back in 1979, Kitajima applied a punk attitude to the making and disseminating of his work. Back then, he created a new exhibition of his photographs each month, covering every inch of the gallery walls with images, often in grids, of his work from the previous few weeks. He photographed at night, wandering around Tokyo, shooting on the streets, in bars and clubs, capturing the buzzing after-hours energy of the city.

His images are grainy and dark in the manner of Moriyama or Anders Petersen, but even more extreme in their use of contrast and saturation. Sometimes, you have to look hard to see what exactly he has caught, particularly with his super-grainy close-ups of faces and figures: real people blend into billboard figures; others turn away or go about their business oblivious to his camera. There is constant movement. This is wilfully impressionistic street photography that adds up to a blurred portrait of night-time Tokyo, as well as suggesting Kitajima's state of mind at that time.

Each of Kitajima's monthly shows was accompanied by a 16-page booklet, all 12 of which have been reproduced here in all their harsh, grainy glory. They give some sense of the energy and innovation that went into each show, which often included projections and prints pasted on to the gallery walls just hours after the photographs were taken. Sometimes, Kitajima would make the gallery his darkroom, attaching sheets of bromide paper to the walls, projecting images on to them, then applying developer and fixer with a sponge. His methodology was fast, haphazard and alert to all the possibilities of the accidental. The making and showing of the work became a kind of monthly art happening with Kitajima as the restless spirit at its centre.


Keizo Kitajima,Photo Express Tokyo No. 1 - 12

Keizo Kitajima,Photo Express Tokyo No. 1 - 12

Keizo Kitajima,Photo Express Tokyo No. 1 - 12

Keizo Kitajima,Photo Express Tokyo No. 1 - 12

Keizo Kitajima,Photo Express Tokyo No. 1 - 12

Keizo Kitajima,Photo Express Tokyo No. 1 - 12

Keizo Kitajima,Photo Express Tokyo No. 1 - 12

Keizo Kitajima,Photo Express Tokyo No. 1 - 12

Keizo Kitajima,Photo Express Tokyo No. 1 - 12

Keizo Kitajima,Photo Express Tokyo No. 1 - 12

Keizo Kitajima,Photo Express Tokyo No. 1 - 12

Keizo Kitajima,Photo Express Tokyo No. 1 - 12

Keizo Kitajima,Photo Express Tokyo No. 1 - 12

Keizo Kitajima,Photo Express Tokyo No. 1 - 12

Keizo Kitajima,Photo Express Tokyo No. 1 - 12

Keizo Kitajima,Photo Express Tokyo No. 1 - 12

Keizo Kitajima,Photo Express Tokyo No. 1 - 12

Keizo Kitajima,Photo Express Tokyo No. 1 - 12

Keizo Kitajima,Photo Express Tokyo No. 1 - 12

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Keizo Kitajima,Photo Express Tokyo No. 1 - 12