Japan Society: Masters of Ukiyo-e

The Japan Society is presenting an exhibit titled: Edo Pop: The Graphic Impact of Japanese Prints running until June. Info here. Prints from the masters including Hiroshige and Hokusai will be presented (everyone knows Hokusai’s tsunami wave with Mt. Fuji in the background) to show their impact on contemporary art, not only in Japan.

I was stunned when I first saw the influence that artists such as Hiroshige and Hokusai have on European artists such as van Gogh, Manet, Monet, Degas, and Toulousse-Lautrec. The van Gogh museum in Amsterdam shows the influence (Japanesery) quite clearly. I remember looking twice at both the Flowering Plumtree and The Bridge in the Rain, two “copies” of Hiroshige’s work done by van Gogh hanging in the gallery. It certainly provides a different context to works of the European masters of the 20th century and a different perspective on how best to interpret art history from this same period.

Greenberg Collection

Howard Greenberg, of New York’s Howard Greenberg Gallery, is showing part of his archival photography collection at Paris’s Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation beginning early April through April 21 (two days before I was to arrive — more about this later), in an exhibition that originates at the Musée de l’Elysée photography museum in Lausanne, Switzerland. It leaves Switzerland this week. Since my friend Krista is studying there I sent her a link to the gallery and informed her that I would be eternally envious (a lot of hidden resentment too) that she can enjoy what I will miss.

The collection includes photographic works centering on the role and influence of New York in United States culture in the 20th century and some exceptional imagery from the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl in the 1930s.

Lens list

I am in the process of creating galleries of my photos. It is taking longer than expected, especially since I am trying to categorize them according to lens used. To that end, here is a list of lenses that I use. This is difficult since in Lightroom where I keep my image library, manual lenses don’t register so I have to try and remember each image and what camera and lens I was using!

My first digital camera, many moon ago, is the Olympus E-410: lightweight with great image quality, I still carry this camera as a backup! I bought the camera and the two kit lenses for my trip to Tofino with my buddy Darren.

40-150mm Olympus
14-42mm Olympus

Not bad for kit lenses and a great solid camera for the beginner to digital photography.

And then along came Panasonic and their GH2. Wow! The introduction of the micro four/thirds system changed the photo landscape and with the video hack by Vitaly Kiselev, this camera will go down in camera history as a game changer with its incredible near-broadcast quality video.

For the m4/3 system I bought the camera and kit lens, the Panasonic 14-140 mm. A great kit lens that is super for video and stills. This was the only lens that I needed on my Paris trip in late 2011.

When I returned to Europe in early 2012 I knew that I wanted a lens to do museum photos. For that I bought the Leica 25mm 1.4. Incredible lens! This lens stays on my camera almost all the time. Exceptional in low light!

And since it is a m4/3 system, I purchased quite a few adapters and went hunting for legacy lenses on the interTube. These include:

Pentax 50mm 1.8
Pentax 28mm 2.8
Minolta 135mm 2.8
Minolta 28mm 2.8
Canon 50mm 1.8
Nikon 50mm 1.4

The grand total for these lenses was about $250!

Each of these lenses has their own particularities, the Nikon eats light for breakfast, spectacular lens! The Pentax seems soft but ethereal and is incredible for setting a mood for landscapes and I use the Canon for street shots due to its character.

I started reading and looking at more and more images and decided that macro was an area that I was looking to explore. I found a used copy of the well reviewed Sigma 70-200mm 4.0-5.6 and find this as my go to lens when I head out for some macro shooting. I do want the Olympus 60mm macro but am in no rush since the Sigma serves me well!

And finally, every time I want to have fun I use my Holga 25mm pinhole camera. Great vignetting and wonderful character.

All the while I ponder whether or not full frame is in my future. Boy that Nikon D800 sure is nice, eh? Or even the Canon 5DIII 🙂

Nevertheless, here is my obligatory lens wishlist:

Portrait lens: Rokinon 85mm F1.4 or the Zeiss Planar here.
Macro: Olympus 60mm F2.8
Telephoto: Panasonic 100-300 F4-5.6

I will be creating categories for each lens and hope to be able to do reviews with examples for each lens. More to come!

Things Fall Apart: The Death of Chinua Achebe

I read Things Fall Apart many years ago and remember Achebe’s first novel as strong message against colonialism (published in 1958) and cultural imperialism. The role of christianity in the destruction of traditional societies is a common motif throughout Achebe’s work and he became a symbol for anti-colonial literature around the world, including indigenous peoples here in Canada. Achebe died this morning in Boston at the age of 82.

I suggest, if you have the desire and the time, to read this book in conjunction with Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness (1899) to see the opposing visions of sub-Saharan Africa, one through the eyes of the colonizer, the other, the eyes of the colonized.


82nd & Fifth

The Metropolitan Museum on Art has a great video clip collection of 100 curators from around the world talking about pieces of art that they feel have changed the way that they view the world. Sort of TED for art lovers.

Click here for more.

Cute animal photos

okay… long week… not much to say except that if you, like me, are sick and tired of the snow and the cold, click here and prepare to smile at the adorable animal photos! 🙂