Friday, December 17, 2010

Kameraoke: Photographic Democracy

Visual Anthropology of Japan recently participated in a photo exhibition in Osaka called Kameraoke. Here is a brief description of the event, as advertised in the Kansai Scene Magazine:

Kameraoke 5, Osaka, Dec 12: Kameraoke is back for its fifth edition. Don’t miss Kansai’s largest annual photo event — on for one day only. See great photos, meet the photographers and vote on your favourite shots. Cool prizes, delicious food, great music and a lot of fun. Time: 3pm (door open) Admission:¥1,000 (at the door)  Where: Café Absinthe, Osaka.

Kameraoke is a combination of the words camera and karaoke, suggesting the fun, participatory nature of the photo exhibition/event. It seems to go along with Susan Sontag's idea that photography is like sex and dancing - it is an activity that everybody does, hopefully in a social setting.

There were four broad categories for the contest: shapes, sizes, colors and and numbers; within each category were subcategories. For example, within colors there were colorful characters, black boots, red light district, orange, flashy and so on. I submitted 10 photographs and three were chosen to be displayed for the contest.  The image above shows some of the photos that were displayed outside of the cafe. The bottom left photo is mine, under the category of colorful character.

More photos on display. There were all kinds and qualities of shots, from casual snapshots to artistic compositions. The photo on the bottom left of the dancers is mine under the category of orange. People who came to the event voted for their favorite photo in each category. Winners were announced at the end of the event.

Sixty six photographers submitted over one thousand photos for the contest. Each photographer had at least 2 or 3 photos selected for display. According to one of the organizers, photos on display and for the contest were chosen because they felt they best represented each category. Some categories were popular and had many entries. I was pleased with the three photos of mine they chose, especially because they were all of people (I am an anthropologist after all...). Two of the shots were the results of long term fieldwork (the dancers, also featured in a previous VAOJ post, were in a public performance I was lucky enough to stumble upon).

All submitted photos were displayed on a big screen at the front of the cafe. In the rear a DJ was spinning music. Café Absinthe was an appropriate setting for such a hip event.

My second photo on display on the big screen.

My third photo, under the category of red light district, on display on the big screen. You might recognize this photo from a recent VAOJ post.

One of the organizers announcing the winners of each category. In addition to the four winners, a photographer who entered a photo for every subcategory was also honored. While VAOJ did not win any of the categories, I was still honored to be a part of this democratic photo exhibition. Many thanks to the organizers and all participants.

Link to Kameraoke blog:

Link to a story about Kameraoke in Kansai Scene Magazine:

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