Tuesday, February 16, 2016

"Tachinomiya" - A Successful and Memorable Photo Exhibition/Event/Research Method

The exhibition/event "Tachinomiya" finished on a high note on Sunday after a two week run, proving to be an interesting and valuable research method. Thank you to all who came - Tenbun workers and patrons, university colleagues, students and former students, family, friends and new friends I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time. I received lots of good wishes and gifts as well as insightful comments and feedback. The Tenbun crowd examined the photographs intensely, pointed out new details and shared several suggestions for future research. Other visitors asked about theory, methods and techniques providing more inspiration. Thank you to Hoshigaoka Gakuen Head master and staff and Sewing Gallery staff for assistance and support.

There were many spontaneous happenings that added to the event including a visiting sketch artists who made drawing of people at the exhibition and a closing reception on Sunday. Extradiegetic elements added to the scene - the funky nature of the gallery itself, a music soundtrack comprised mostly of old American blues music inspired by drink (an a couple of new David Bowie songs from the Blackstar album) and six 1.8 liter bottles of sake donated by Tencho (they ran out by Sunday afternoon prompting visitors to go out and buy more...).

This exhibition was primarily for the benefit of the Tenbun crowd - as my thanks to them for their incredible cooperation and contributions. I found out during the exhibition that a regular Tenbun customer in a displayed portrait had recently passed away and that a woman appearing in a couple of photos was pregnant. This sadness and joy is a reminder that anthropology is about real lives and real people.

This exhibition in part started as a result of the "Shooting Culture in Japan" research dealing with photo methodologies, rules and etiquette; I was able to apply these things to create the beginnings of a visual ethnography of Tenbun, tachinomiya and Japan. This project will continue. Stay tuned to VAOJ for more news of future exhibitions, presentations and publications. For now, I need to catch up with work and sleep...

No comments: