Fine Art

Grandma by airi katsuta

I've realized that my photographs are way better when I shoot something I care about, like my family. I'm back in Japan right now and I visited my grandma in the hospital. She was diagnosed with cancer but as a champ that she is, she had surgery and now she's recovering. She'll be home soon so I'm very excited.

I shot more in film so I'm very excited to get them developed when I get back to the states.

SFMoMA: Exposed:Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera since 1870. by airi katsuta

Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera since 1870 During spring break, I went back to  San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art to see the work of Eadweard Muybridge but also got the chance to see the show called Exposed: Voyeurism, Surveillance and the Camera since 1870. It was my second time seeing this show since I visited SFMoMA in January to look at Henri Cartier-Bresson’s work. This exhibition questions about who is looking at whom and why, and how the camera has transformed how we look, when the look shifts from seeing to spying. The show is on the forth floor of SFMoMA, and is separated into five different sections - unseen photographer, voyeurism and desire, celebrity and the paparazzi, witnessing violence, and surveillance. As you walk in, there is a parental discretion stating, “Portions of this exhibition contain violent and sexual content that may not be appropriate for some viewers.” This statement was quite true since some photographs I cringed, horrified, or infatuated with. Having prior knowledge of understanding photographs made it easier for me to take in all these work. For just random museum-goers with no knowledge of history of photography, it will feel like a roller coaster ride with a mix of amputated legs, pornographic images, peeping Toms, and surveillance cameras. One of the amateur work that stood out to me was The Lynching of Leo Frank, by Oliver Lutz in the witnessing violence section. There is a black canvas on the wall with no other photographs next to it. I was confused at first because this exhibition is about photography, not painting. But in front of this black canvas was a television monitor. And as I looked into it, there is a negative photo of a man being hung from a tree with a crowd of people posing for the camera. I could see myself in the monitor because there was a surveillance camera projecting the image on the wall, making the image appear from the black. The image was quite disturbing, a man being lynched, and the crowd being proud of what they’ve done. This photograph certified someone’s death, and someone else’s idea of justice. There were two video installation, one being Nan Goldin, The Ballad of Sexual Dependency (1986). It was a great experience. Being a fan of her over the past few years, it was mind blowing to actually see the photographs in a 35 mm film slide show format rather than a book, flowing together with the soundtrack. While sitting in the slide show for around 45 minutes, I felt like I did not want to have friends like the people depicted with drugs, sex, violence, diseases, but feeling unable to judge them. Its a visual diary that mirrors realities of modern life. Goldin’s often graphic images are a pointed reminder that we are all beings dependent on others for emotional survival. The work that I personally loved was The Stranger series by Shizuka Yokomizo. It makes me happy that a Japanese photographer is in the collection of MoMA since I am from Japan. With her work, she explores the relationship between the observer and the subject by sending out anonymous letters proposing they stand in the front window of their home at a specified date and time, at which point the artist arrives outside, sets up her tripod and camera, exposes her film, and then leaves. With the window frame, curtains, and security gates between the camera and the subject definitely gives a distance separating them, giving the impression of voyeurism. Since the subject can see the shadowy figure of Yokomizo while they’re being photographed, its not just a conventional portrait, its more of a record of an encounter. The viewer gets to see the vantage point of Yokomizo while taking the photograph, so the viewers are a part of this encounter as well. The exhibition was quite large, so being separated in sections really helped out. It was very interesting to see world-renowned photographers’ work and amateur unknown photographer’s work next to each other in each section. This show explores the transformation of photography from documenting, and how it shifts to surveillance, and spying.

SMOCA: Dance With Camera by airi katsuta

I recently visited Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Arts to view the collaborative exhibition called Dance With Camera. Having a close relationship with my camera and my love for dancing in front of a mirror when no ones watching, I thought I'll be able to relate to this show. However, I felt like a fish out of water. As I walked into the exhibition, I hear tribal drum beats with the lights real low. There's a flat screen TV hanging on the wall and there is a Caucasian woman dancing like an animal. I watched the clip for a good 15 minutes but I had no idea what this was about. The title of this work was Adaptive Lines, 2007, by Flora Wiegmann. The dancer was moving out of her body by a freeway overpass. And even though it was by a freeway, the atmosphere felt very nature-y.  The dancer "adapted" and restructured to each of her colleagues' decision: to the soundtrack, the location, the costume, and direction. Tarantism,2007, by Joachim Koester was something that I thought was very interesting. First seeing this short film, I thought, why is everyone having a seizure? A group of people were moving frantically with no music or sound, as if they were possessed. After reading the descriptive, I learned that the artist had an interest in a condition found in Southern Italy that results from a spider bite from a tarantula. People who were bitten were to get compulsive seizures from the venom of the spiders and the only way for a cure was to dance it off. Koester's interest in this condition is tied to the notion of uncontrolled, unorganized movement. Very interesting, I must say.

Bruce Conner, Breakaway, 1966 was the one that I was attracted to the most in this exhibition. This film features Toni Basil's dancing to her music. I really liked the lyrics of the song, "I’m gonna break away from all the chains that bind, and everyday I’ll wear what I want and do what suits me fine". She is leaping freely, and then through out the film, she is completely naked. This resembled a music video and I felt like I understood it more than the other films shown in this exhibition.

This exhibition is showing until May 1. Go check it out.

Angie by airi katsuta

Angie is my go-to girl for a photoshoot. I've known her since high school and she is one of my best friends. She's my favorite blonde, blue-eyed, porcelain skinned barbie doll. But don't let her pretty face fool you, she is FIERCE :)

She is a great listener and always has the best advice.One of the most genuine person I know, Angie is the best.

She will do anything I want when it comes to a photo shoot. I've made her rock climb with stilettos on, stripped her naked and painted cheetah prints all over her body, dress her up in traditional Japanese Kimono, and pose under the blazing 100 degree heat of Arizona.

She is gorgeous. She's my beautiful bombshell.

SF MOMA: Henri Cartier-Bresson by airi katsuta

I had the chance to visit the San Fransisco Museum of Modern Art and was very excited of the fact that Henri Cartier-Bresson's exhibition was up. I've read about him, looked at his work numerous times during photo lecture, so I was very ecstatic to see his work in person.

There are more than 300 photographs that spread out the entire floor that enfolds this French photographer's career but also the history of modern photography. He photographed all around the world as he worked for LIFE magazine and he took pictures that teaches us cultural and historical lesson.

The exhibition is separated in 13 sections that flows chronologically.

This photograph being shown in the first section, it reminded me of the time when Jim Hajicek was talking about the decisive moment in the photo I lecture.

Later on in his life, Cartier-Bresson did not consider his photographs as art for a gallery. He meant for his work to be mass published and for practical use. He documented the Soviet Union, the Great Leap Forward in China, and this gave America a view that has never seen before.

I was overwhelmed with the hundreds of prints that was framed on the wall. I was getting goosebumps from taking it all in. I definitely recommend seeing his work at least once in your life.