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The Minute As Monumental: Yoshiyuki Okayama’s Photography At Gallery 916

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The Minute As Monumental: Yoshiyuki Okayama’s Photography At Gallery 916
Image from series "As the Call, So the Echo" (2017). Courtesy of: Gallery 916, Tokyo
Capture of these everyday situations allow for a private glimpse into moments often perceived as unmonumental, but are the details that come together to form the story of what it is to be alive.

‘As the Call, So the Echo’ is the recent exhibition of Yoshiyuki Okayama’s works, currently on view at Gallery 916 in Tokyo. Works in the exhibition on view include photographs of human subjects and environments that one might encounter in Japan. Capture of these everyday situations allow for a private glimpse into moments often perceived as unmonumental, but are the details that come together to form the story of what it is to be alive. This is achieved through acute perception to the smallest details in certain places during a certain time. The collection of the images on display are also included in Okayama’s most recent monograph off Akaaka Art Publishing (2017), which shares the exhibition’s title “As the Call, So the Echo”. Additionally, he is the winner of the Canon sponsored New Cosmos of Photography Award and has been noted as an emerging photographer that is on the rise.

Image from series "As the Call, So the Echo" (2017). Courtesy of: Gallery 916, Tokyo

There is a raw honesty to the images of Okayama. A documentation of everyday life, without dramatic lighting, effects, or set. A true unstaged moment isolated and framed; it is evidence of what is. There is a seamlessness to the capture of the subjects as they are engaged in activities reflective of the lifestyle and culture of Japan. Like a telescope that looks out into space, the longer the exposure time, the more detail will be revealed in the image. Okayama proposes a similar idea, the longer the duration that the audience looks at his photographic works, the more that can be revealed in the nuances and monumentality in these depictions of ordinary life scenarios. The colors, composition and focal points are appreciated from another angle when the conceptual components are considered. This is similar, and no doubt inspired by the 1960’s movement in art aimed to more seriously integrate the interconnectedness of idea of art and life into the works.

Okayama proposes a similar idea, the longer the duration that the audience looks at his photographic works, the more that can be revealed in the nuances and monumentality in these depictions of ordinary life scenarios.

Images such as a baby in the midst of a bath, and a mother walking a baby carriage down a road in a rural setting shows small snapshots into the everyday experience. The glisten in the eyes, the way light hits the side of a baby’s face, the shyness depicted in the posture of the woman walking, the folds in fabrics, among others; there is a poetic quality to the way these images can be read. Undoubtedly, what is being depicted in these images is to apply emphasis to the moments of intent, repetition, and process, among others. Okayama insists that ‘something’ is there to be found in each of the photographs. This certainly seems to be the case, whether it is literally in the photograph itself within the narratives of the anonymous but familiar people and scenes, or within ourselves. The notion is meant to be expansive and open for interpretation. To state that there is something, is to assert that the opposite of nothingness.

Image from series "As the Call, So the Echo" (2017). Courtesy of: Gallery 916, Tokyo

On the trajectory of a timeline, ‘now’ is a moment, or point, that exists between birth and death.

In a statement ‘Toward a lived now’ from critic Mariko Takeuchi, posted on the Gallery 916 site, he explains the conceptual concerns of ‘now’ in Okayama’s work. To focus on the present moment permits a keen sense of awareness of the body, and the relationship that it has to place. On the trajectory of a timeline, ‘now’ is a moment, or point, that exists between birth and death. To experience the present, one has to account for the past, and potential of the future, then allow themselves to exist fully in the moment, focused purely on that experience. Okayama discusses the concept of ‘now’ in relation to consumerism of social media imagery. This is an aspect of the reality of the time in which we live. There is an undeniable component of voyeurism that exists when we participate in the consumption of images from other people’s lives. It is as if there is the expectation that a small component of their experience is able to be transferred to us upon engagement. And who is to say that this isn’t what happens, even if it operates at a minimal level?

Image from series ‘As the Call, So the Echo’ (2017) Courtesy of: Gallery 916, Tokyo

How do we identify with that is being presented to us, as we stare back into the eyes of the subjects?

He addresses the idea that collective imagination, and fantasy are what play into the desire for the perpetuation of the images. The documents of the present exist as fleeting glimmers, and eventually are acknowledged as time. It moves forward and never backward; it can be amended but never reversed. This is akin to the moment in which a photograph is taken. The focus on a point in time determined as now gives power and emphasis back to the audience viewing the images. It is contingent on the relationship that we choose to apply towards it. How do we identify with that is being presented to us, as we stare back into the eyes of the subjects?

Image from series "As the Call, So the Echo" (2017). Courtesy of: Gallery 916, Tokyo

The exhibition opened on November 11, 2017 and will remain up until December 24, 2017. For more information including ticketing, hours of operation, monograph signing or sales, or additional events, please visit: https://gallery916.com/exhibition/asthecallsotheecho/#

 

 


Any views or opinions in the post are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.


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