何藩 ho fan- chinese (1931-2016)

 

Ho Fan. Approaching Shadow, 1954

I went to San Francisco's Modernbook Gallery in 2015. (The Gallery has now changed its name to Themes+Projects.  The publishing company has retained the name Modernbook.)  

I accidentally walked into the gallery which was housed with numerous other galleries on Geary Street.  I was the only one there except for a very friendly young curator who gave me a tour of the photography and recounted the history of Ho Fan. I'm embarrassed to say I had never heard of Ho Fan before this visit.  Hanging on the wall were some of the most beautiful black and white photographs I had ever seen.  Ho Fan documents an era of the mid 20th century in Hong Kong through a striking black and white street photographic style.    

This photo, Approaching Shadow  陰影,  is one of Ho's most famous. He asked a cousin to pose by a wall at Queen's College in Causeway Bay, Hong Kong. In the darkroom he added a diagonal shadow to symbolize "her youth will fade away as everyone has the same destiny". 

Approaching Shadow is a photo of the woman leaning against a wall.  The wall is massive -  textured and white. The geometry is everything.  The immense vertical pillar covered in light shadow on the left is in juxtaposition with the striking diagonal line and dark triangle to the right.  Replete with symbolism. Dark and light.  Yin and yang.  The photo is breathtaking. Ho Fan rocks the Japanese aesthetics of simple, of minimal.  There is a dramatic feeling of suspense - feeling the light slowly move, eventually disappearing with the setting sun.

The new gallery has moved to 1275 Minnesota Street #205. San Francisco.  Silver prints of Ho Fan's work are available from Themes+Project. Vintage prints from the 1950’s and 60’s are also available upon request.   Ho’s estate.

Modernbook's published books of Ho Fan's photographs are also available. (at http://www.modernbook.com/store/. Amazon.com.  See below.)  

Themes+Projects
Modernbook Editions

1275 Minnesota St, #205
San Francisco, California 94107 USA
office +1-415-732-0300
mobile +1-510-967-5222
themesandprojects.com


 

Ho Fan 何藩 (b. 1931 in Shanghai). Ho Fan was born in Shanghai and raised in Hong Kong.  He moved to California in 1995 and died last year, in 2016.  He was 84 years old.

"Ho Fan is often called the 'poet with a camera,' or 'the grandmaster.' His street scenes and photomontages of the 1950s and ‘60s left their marks on the minds of several generations. Considered to be one of the masters of black-and-white photography, Ho Fan was also an accomplished actor and filmmaker, having produced over 20 films in Hong Kong and Taiwan.  The poetic grandeur and dramatic power of his photographs have earned him over 200 prizes in the course of his long career, which began in 1956." (Photography of China)

Ho started his career with a Nikon camera, but he also used a Rolleiflex and Leica. “I waited for a long, long time for the right moment,” he says. “I always waited for hours and hours for the best lighting effect, because you can’t move the sun. You must wait for the exact angle of the light – and the exact moment for the suitable subject to appear.” (Mercury News )

"Ho Fan’s expressionist and experimental photographs not only capture street life in Hong Kong from 1950 to the present, they also explore topics in the Asian tradition of painting, like shanshui (traditional landscape painting), abstracts and nudes. Distancing himself from “pure photography,” the artist plays with shapes and compositions, deliberately distorting silhouettes, accentuating areas of shadow and light, combining multiple negatives, altering the perspective, and many other tricks." (Photography of China)

All photos are Copyright by Fan Ho’s estate, 2017, courtesy of Themes+Projects. Themes+Projects are the exclusive agent and representative of the late Ho Fan's estate.

 

an evening with Ho fan

In this video, Ho Fan talks about his photography. 

Books by ho fan

 

Hong kong yesterday by Ho fan. January 2017

the living theater (Japanese) by Rinko Kawauchi.   October 2010

 

川内 倫子 KAWAUCHI RINKO - JAPANESE (1972 - )

 

In November 2016, I went to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to see an exhibit of "Japanese Photography from Postwar to Now."  I saw some of Ms. Kawauchi's photos for the first time. Being a black and white photographer, I was surprised to find how drawn I was to her photography.  The color, not over emphatic or over colored, was quieting.  The color blue dominants many of her photos.

The photo here is from her "The Eyes, the Ears" series.  It is a simple image.  A side closeup of one eye and with a backdrop of the color blue.  I am first drawn to that blue.  Is it the sky?  Is it a thought?  And the blue is not just one blue, it is layers of blue lighter at the edge near the eye.  The vast image of just one elegant eye brings in the most human element.  An exquisite Japanese woman's eye?  Or a child?  And then there are a few strands of hair. I find it surprisingly comforting.  Even childlike.


Born in 滋賀県 日本 Shiga, Japan, in 1972, Rinko Kawauchi lives and works in Tokyo.  Ms. Kawauchi studied graphic design and photography at Seian College of Art and Design and graduated in 1993.  Before working as a fine art photographer, she worked in advertising.

Rinko Kawauchi uses a six-by-six format camera.  

In 2001 she published three photo books, Hanako (a Japanese girl's name), Utatane ("catnap"), and Hanabi ("fireworks").  In the following years she won prizes for two of the books in Japan.   In total, Ms, Kawauchi has published 15 photo books.  She has displayed her works all over the world, including at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Sao Paulo Museum of Modern Art, the Foundation Cartier pour l’art in Paris, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

According to Ms. Kawauchi, her art is rooted in Shinto.  In Shintoism, all things have a spirit, thus leading us to an appreciation of the small and the mundane.

She writes, “It’s not enough that the photograph is beautiful.  If it doesn’t move my heart, it won’t move anyone else’s heart.”

Ms. Kawauchi's WRITINGS - I'm not surprised to read that Rinko Kawauchi also composes haiku.  Many of her photos are visual haiku, short visual poems designed to capture strong emotions or moments with carefully selected Kanji.

All images are Untitled, from the series "Illuminance", 2011, C-print, on dibond, framed 40 × 40 in


Interview

In this video, Rinko Kawachi discusses her recent work in an interview with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art 

For more information on Rinko Kawauchi.

Books by Rinko Kawauchi

The Eyes, The Ears by Rinko Kawauchi.   January 2010

Utatane (Japanese) by Rinko Kawauchi.   October 2010

ILLUMINANCE  RINKO KAWAUCHI. JULY 2011