tokyo camera style

Jul 17 2013

A few months ago at a meeting with the Totem Pole Photo Gallery  members we were reviewing the upcoming schedule and needed a show for two weeks in July.  I already had a stack of Instax prints at home and figured that it would be interesting to shoot some more and exhibit them all at once.


I’ve done a bunch of solo shows over the past decade and every time they’ve been comprised of black and white prints, with only slight variation in exhibition methods.  The Zuisha series is an exercise in continuation but my current show, On The Spot, is a new experience in a lot of ways.  Whereas I’ve only had to deal with 20-30 prints in the past, this show features over 500 little instant photo prints made over the past few years. Taped to the walls in three rows, their size and proximity invites the viewer to take everything continuously as they walk the line. It’s a bit mesmerizing, if I may say so myself.  


Not every picture is a “Great Shot!” but that’s part of the point. I’m exhibiting several hundred one-of-a-kind instant prints mostly out of personal interest but partly as a reaction/challenge to those who preach a kind of photography that’s limited to the pursuit of “AMAZING IMAGES”, or something like that.  “Take your photography to the NEXT LEVEL” ?  Really, there’s only one level—and that’s the base from where you stand with a camera and make your pictures.  That’s it.  The rest is just marketing and the internet is full of it from the photo-imaging industry to Internet Photo Personalities pushing their synergy/brand to sell spots on expensive photowalk-shops.  Putting in work is the only way to figure things out. You have to do it yourself, for yourself.
 All that really matters is your own enjoyment and insight into what you find worthy of recording with your camera.  Why exhibit? Hopefully seeing the work of others openly broadens your own understanding of life and art. 

At the same time there’s a popular expectation that behind every artistic expression there lies some romantic view about of the agony of creation or the preciousness of the artist’s soul-vision made form. Apparently this is supposed to help make an encounter with said expressions somehow more serious or worthy of contemplation. But seriously, clouding up the vibe with pretentious dumb junk isn’t worth it.


How’s this for an ARTIST STATEMENT:  I took these photos; I want to show you these photos.


It’s true!


Anyway, I’ll be in the gallery all day, every day until July 28th.  (Note: The gallery is closed Monday, July 22nd)  Feel free to stop by if you want to chat. 



ジョン サイパル / John Sypal 

2013.7.16(tue) - 7.28(sun)

Totem Pole Photo Gallery

Open 12:00-19:00 Closed Mondays


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