1968—Japanese Photography

1968 was the year of Martin Luther King assassination, Robert F. Kennedy assassination, the height of Vietnam War, Prague Spring, Paris student uprising, Japanese student uprising and the launch of “Provoke: Provocative Materials for Thought” magazine, the milestone of modern photography the founders of which, Koji Taki, Takuma Nakahira, Takahiko Okada and Yutaka Takanashi, coined the term “are-bure-boke” (grainy, blurry, and out of focus) as the new means of expression. 1968 — Japanese Photography exhibition at Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography which focuses on the period between 1966 and 1974, is so refreshingly real and penetrates on so many levels that it feels almost fictional in the kawaii infected, overly politically correct Japan of today. During this time Japanese national self-awareness set in motion by the defeat in WWII, Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings and the growing presence of US military reached its peak manifesting itself in the nationwide protests and barricaded streets.

The exhibition portrays real human drama, confusion, fear, loss and longing intensified by high contrast, gritty realism pioneered by “Provoke” and “Camera Mainichi” magazines. It is also a testimony to the legacy of those who fully embraced their times and went against the grain of conventional storytelling, inventing a whole new language just as fresh and emotionally charged today as it was 45 years ago, the photographers. Through July 15th.

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