Workshop: “Photography・Modernity・Japan―写真・モダニティ・日本”

Image: Kusakabe Kimbei, The Kusakabe studio on Honchō-dōri, Yokohama. ca. 1895. James Davidson collection (a033361). Courtesy of UBC Museum of Anthropology, Vancouver, Canada

PhotographyModernityJapan     写真・モダニティ日本

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

At the Museum of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver

The history of photography in Japan is coterminous with that of modernity. It was during the Meiji period that photography quickly developed into one of the most important media for artistic expression and documentation in Japan. Since the “visual turn” inspired theoretical debates in the 1990s, scholars in Japanese studies have become increasingly interested in examining photography in their work. Studies in a variety of disciplines have addressed photography’s role in nation- and empire-building, as a vehicle in ideological dissemination, as well as in enabling the development of a language of modernity. Yet as a medium, photography brings with it its own set of questions. What is a photograph, and how does it signify? What is photography’s relationship to modern notions of history? What is the nature of photographic “evidence”? Does a renewed attention to photography as a medium enable a different way to think of modernity? In addressing these questions, this workshop seeks to generate a space for the discussion of methodological questions, the articulation of doubts, and provocations.


11:00                 Registration and coffee

11:30                 Welcome remarks

Panel 1: Photo Histories


National Boundaries and Photographic Frontiers: early Meiji photographs of the Ogasawara Islands

Dr. David Odo

Director of Student Programs & Research Curator of University Collections Initiatives, Harvard Art Museums, USA






Private Modernities: The Singleton Family Albums and Early Japanese-Australian Relations

Dr. Luke Gartlan Senior Lecturer, School of Art History, University of St Andrews, Scotland






12:45-13:15        Panel 1 discussion

13:15                 Lunch


Panel 2: Photo Practices

14:15                 Afternoon registration


Surrealism for Photography: Takiguchi Shūzō, Yasui Nakaji and Koishi Kiyoshi before the World War II

Ms. Yuri Mitsuda

Chief curator, Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art, Japan







Window and Hole: 2.5 Dimensional Photography

Prof. Chihiro Minato

Photographer and Professor at Tama Art University, Japan







15:30-16:00     Panel 2 discussion

16:00               Break

16:15               Discussion

16:45               Closing remarks

17:00               End


Registration required.

Click here to register for Panel 1

Click here to register for Panel 2



Dr. Ignacio Adriasola, Assistant Professor, Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory, UBC

Dr. Fuyubi Nakamura, Curator, Asia, the Museum of Anthropology at UBC

For inquiry, please contact Dr. Fuyubi Nakamura at

This event is organized as a part of the Meiji at 150 Project at UBC hosted by Centre for Japanese Research, Departments of History and Asian Studies and the Asian Library, and supported by the Museum of Anthropology.