The inaugural “Shashin: Photography From Japan Festival” comes to NYC
April 18–May 2, 2015

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Produced by the Tokyo-based Council for Photography from Japan (CPJ) and co-hosted by the International Center of Photography (ICP) and the New York Public Library (NYPL), the 15-day Shashin Festival presents installations, performances, artist lectures, films and other events showcasing artists rarely seen outside Japan who represent the elusive, fast evolving culture of photography from Japan.

What is Shashin?
The word simply means photograph in Japanese.  Yet the art of making photographs in Japan has centuries old roots in the country’s traditions of graphic art and design.  Shashin is a visual language informed by cultural extremes: strict protocols and unconventional attitudes, ancient detachment and futuristic enterprise, teasing innocence and hyper consumerism.  Japanese Shashin artists articulate photography in and through installations, dance, film, writing and other art forms.

The Shashin Festival will showcase and explore this provocative, experimental genre through more than a dozen site-specific events, most free to the public including:

     10x10’s Shashin Zine Fest NYC, at Resobox in Long Island City, Saturday, April 18 through Sunday, April 26, features a broad selection of recent Japanese Zines.

     An invitation-only party at the Aperture Foundation, Saturday, April 25 celebrating the launch of “Tokyo,” the May 2015 edition of Aperture Magazine.

     A 2-day Shashin Symposium brings together the world’s leading scholars and curators of Japanese photography from major art institutions for a series of presentations and panel discussions at the New York Public Library, Friday April 24 and Saturday, April 25.

     bookshop M, a Japanese bookseller and publisher of high-quality Photobooks from Japan will host a pop-up shop, Saturday, April 26th at the International Center of Photography School.

     A screening of two documentaries about the enigmatic, legendary photographer Takuma Nakahira. Films by Takashi Homma and Masashi Kohara at the School of Visual Arts, Monday, April 27.

     Shashin Festival Director Ivan Vartanian will give a slide-show presentation hosted by the Harvard Business School of New York, Tuesday, April 28, introducing many of the young, dynamic artists in contemporary Japanese photography. Two of these young photographers, Daisuke Yokota and Mayumi Hosokura will join the discussion in person.

     A performance-based, outdoor event Saturday, May 2 with emerging artist/photographer Daisuke Yokota will include the application of acid to his photographs. Site:  TBA

     Also Saturday, May 2, Takashi Homma, renowned for his portraits of urban Tokyo, will construct a giant camera obscura that participants may enter. Prints made inside the camera obscura will be available for sale.

     In addition to the public program of events, installations and publications, the festival includes exhibitions at many of New York City’s leading galleries dedicated to photography, including: Laurence Miller Gallery, Howard Greenberg Gallery, and Pace/MacGill Gallery, among others.

For the full list of participating exhibiting galleries, installations, performances, and other events, visit:

Shashin Festival Director Ivan Vartanian says:
Japanese photography has a rich and diverse history.  The Shashin Festival NYC  provides a robust introduction to its traditions, its stars and its emerging artists.  Photography from Japan is no single style, content, or theme and defies easy categorization. But for all the publications, exhibitions, and legions of photographers producing work in Japan only a very small morsel of this tantalizing work makes it to the western world.”

“For most, the Shashin Festival will be the first exposure to the world of  photography from Japan. It’s a realm that is as beguiling as it is absorbing, beautiful, and sophisticated. We’ve put together a multi-institution and multi-platform program to captivate artists, academics, students, collectors, book-lovers, and culture-enthusiasts.”

“The Shashin Festival will provide lightning rod of attention to the wide spectrum of Japanese photography and give a context for audiences to appreciate, engage, and explore a world beyond the ordinary.”

10x10 Photobooks, organized by International Center of Photography Librarian Matthew Carson, Russet Lederman and Olga Yatskevich, states:
“We have very strong connections and a meaningful history with the Japanese photo community and when approached by Ivan Vartanian to become involved in the Shashin: Photography from Japan festival, the answer was an immediate yes. The opportunity to interact with so many knowledgeable curators, writers, photographers and historians who specialize in Japanese photography in New York for a 2-day symposium and numerous gallery exhibitions is a very exciting prospect. The breadth and depth of information that will be shared over the course of the festival and symposium is impossible to find outside of Japan. Both those knowledgeable of Japanese photography, as well as those new to the art, will find interesting and unfamiliar work and ideas to discover. “

Stephen C. Pinson, The Robert B.  Menschel  Curator of Photography at the New York Public Library, says:
“The NYPL is well known for our collection of ehon, or Japanese picture books, which were featured in a landmark exhibition in 2006  and included many of the  best photobooks produced in Japan.  We continue to build our collections in this area and are thrilled to co-host the  Shashin Festival.  Like the Council for Photography from Japan, we are eager to share our Japanese  material, and our photography collections in general, with a broader audience.   Right now is an especially good time to visit the Library to take advantage of our  first-ever historical retrospective,  Public Eye: 175 Years of Sharing Photography, which includes  works by Daido Moriyama, Yoshikazu Suzuki, and Takuma Nakahira.”

Festival Partners
The Council for Photography from Japan was established in 2014 by curator, writer and publisher Ivan Vartanian, Founder, Goliga Books, Inc. (Tokyo); Naoko Ota, curator of Klee Inc. (Tokyo), and Tatsuo Ito, Publisher of National Geographic, Japan, to produce events and projects globally, exporting the culture of photography from Japan to various destinations and audiences.

The International Center of Photography (ICP) is the world’s leading institution dedicated to the practice and understanding of photography and the reproduced image in all its forms. Through our exhibitions, educational programs, and community outreach, we offer an open forum for dialogue about the role images play in our culture. Since our founding, we have presented more than 700 exhibitions and offered thousands of classes, providing instruction at every level. ICP is a center where photographers and artists, students and scholars can create and interpret the world of the image within our comprehensive educational facilities and archive. Visit for more information.

The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library welcomes more than 18 million visits through its doors annually and millions more around the globe via its resources at To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at



Media Contacts:

Shashin Festival: Christina Clarke,

International Center of Photography: Camille Ortiz,

New York Public Library: Sara Beth Joren,