Do you really understand what Japanese photography is?

Photography, after all, has something to do with aesthetics. Learning photography is also to cultivate aesthetics. Whenever you imitate others and take some photos to feed your eyeballs, do you occasionally stop to think about the significance of doing so? Is it really so simple to refine and create beauty? After thinking, don’t you want to explore the deep connotation behind it?

Input the two keywords “Japanese”+”photography” into the search engine, and you will soon get a pile of photos that teach people how to take fresh style: reduce contrast and saturation in the later stage, and the color matching must be fresh, preferably a little too exposed. However, this is only the Japanese system on the surface, not the essence of the Japanese system, and the final result is just a pile of homogeneous photos similar in shape but different in spirit.

The Japanese are not affectations, empty images, only colors without content, not to mention pretending to be green and small.

The Japanese system is not only small and fresh

Since we have to sayJapanese photography

Start from the source. In fact, the history of the introduction of photography into Japan is very similar to that of China. The starting point was also the armed invasion of Western imperialism in the 19th century. Japan was forced to open its ports and end its lock-in policy. Some exotic products also took root and sprouted with the cultural invasion of Europe and the United States. Photography is one of them.

However, Japan’s modernization process is more smooth than China’s, and less affected by foreign invasion and continuous civil war (for example, in the Tokugawa shogunate era before the Meiji Restoration, Japan enjoyed 240 years of peace). Therefore, Japan has been more effective in preserving traditional culture, and the development of Japanese photography has also presented a unique and national style – both soft and rigid, perhaps the so-called chrysanthemum and sword.

During the Second World War, Japan, as a defeated country, was bombed by atomic bombs. These historical events formed a lingering haze in the hearts of the Japanese. In addition, in the early post-war period, Japan became a semi colony of the United States, and the economy was in a state of endless waste. As a result, young Japanese photographers at that time showed strong feelings of sadness, violence, and rebellion in their works.

The old generation of Japanese photographers that we are familiar with not only include Moriyama Avenue and Araki Sutra, but also a person who had a profound impact on the entire Japanese photographic history – Dongsong Lighting, which is known as the “giant of post-war realism”.

As a representative of that era, Dongsong Lighting shot a large number of post-war Japanese works. The 1960s was also a golden age in the history of Japanese photography. At that time, photography was inseparable from society and the times. Photographers never avoided social reform and national turbulence, so they also produced a lot of works with impact.

Having said so much, I don’t want to go into the history of Japanese photography, but I just want you to know that the so-called Japanese system has more different schools and styles besides Xiaoqingxin.

So, what is the Japanese system?

The aesthetic concept introduced from China and rooted in Japan is mainly reflected in the following two aspects.

Surprised silence

The etymology itself is similar to this word in Chinese, and it is not a very positive word. In the 14th century, under the influence of Zen, this concept began to be positively evaluated, which was integrated into Japanese aesthetic consciousness.

For example, in the tea ceremony, “Ao Bi” means not only rough, but also simple but rich in texture and the desire to pursue beauty. Tar Zong plays as described in “Two Records of the Mountain Clan”, that is, those who “do not hold one thing, but only have awareness, time and technology” are also called “poor tea people”. At the time of Qianzongdan, there was a single “great man” who was just a loser

It can be seen from this that “widowers and widowers have created the beauty of” nothing “after the beauty of secular universal significance. Zen’s thought of “originally nothing” makes “widowers” become all the existing forms of beauty. In short, it refers to an intuitive way of life, emphasizing the discovery of beauty in imperfections and accepting the natural cycle of life and death.

At first, the word “Ji” was not a particularly beautiful concept. The ancient books such as “Bare Grass” recorded that the word had a strong meaning in ancient books. In the Muromachi era, this concept was given considerable attention in the world of haiku, and was incorporated into art forms such as Nengyue, and began to be theorized.

“The widower’s imprint is not only great, but also good. Don’t decorate it, just point to the spirit of origin.

Kawauchi’s photos have a faint feeling. It is like saying nothing, but saying everything.

Youxuan Beauty

Beauty that implies but does not express. Before the Meiji Restoration, Japan was mainly influenced by Chinese traditional culture. In the field of aesthetics, the combination of “art” as a skill in China and “Tao” as a principle and method formed the idea of “art Tao”.

Among them, harmony songs were once regarded as the most important part of art. Juncheng Fujiwara (1114~1204) wrote the Millennium Collection, and his son Dingjia Fujiwara (1162~1241) was one of the writers of the New Ancient and Modern Collection. They think that skill training is very important, but if they only focus on skills, the theory and method or “Tao” will be weakened. Therefore, he advocates to go beyond the training of simple skills and pursue the cultivation of immanence to reach the realm of “secluded beauty”.

Instead of pursuing skills, they seek inspiration from life and turn it into a variety of emotional photos. This is what people who only stay on the surface and pursue large aperture and fresh color do not have.

Integration of female photographersJapanese photographyThe modern look of

Although Japanese traditional aesthetics is very close to modern Japanese aesthetics, there is no turning point in the development process.

In 1989, the world’s smallest fully automatic camera, big mini, appeared, boasting small, easy to use and cheap. Instantly attracted the eyes of young women. More and more women are joining the photography circle, taking photography as their daily entertainment, while manufacturers are interested in women as an emerging market. Publishers and advertisers are vigorously promoting young women, which also makes more women join the photography circle.

Since then, some outstanding female photographers have made great achievements in international competitions, which has a very significant impact on the entire photographic culture. Women who initially took photography as their own entertainment did not pay much attention to equipment and skills. They took photos at will, and most of the objects were family members, friends and life clips.

This is very different from the way men took pictures at that time. Men generally have more pursuit of skills, more complete inspiration, intention and shooting plan; Women, on the other hand, tend to think emotionally. Linked together, female photographers have created a larger market, and business opportunities have greatly increased the influence of female photographers.

The participation of women has made Japanese photography a new language, changed the expression of a whole generation in photography, and led to the formation of the current Japanese photography trend. When this trend spread to other parts of Asia, everyone rushed to imitate it.

The essence of the Japanese system – the connection with people

The modern Japanese system is drawn from life, and its focus is not on the level of technology and equipment. I remember that when this photo became popular on the Internet, I, as a photographer, often saw a lot of arguments that “technology is more important than equipment” and “this is a race for AE86 to win GT-R”. But the focus is not on technology!

Others are saying that having good equipment does not mean having good technology. The most important thing is technology! I want to correct this idea. Although the equipment is only low-level, you can buy it with money. However, technology is also a low-level thing for people. As long as they are willing to take the time to learn, no matter how difficult the theory is, they can finally understand it.

But what is something higher than technology? I think it’s inspiration and feelings.

Inspiration is hard to come by. Only the inspiration that is blessed to the soul can sublimate the work to a new level. It may be the reaction of simply loving photography, or the reaction of simply liking the scene, objects and people being photographed. But those are not accidental, but can be achieved through years of hard work, a little “luck just to visit” and favorable weather and location. It is more precious because of difficulties.

What is higher than inspiration is emotion. In the course of decades of life, no one brings anything here, nor can anyone take anything away. Only experiences in life are evidence of survival. Happiness, sadness, disappointment, worry, ecstasy, expectation… The positive and negative are emotions.

“If you have a heart and a feeling, you will regret.” – Emotion is the perception and response to reality when people live in the world.

Only when people really experience these feelings and show them, can photos have soul. Without these things, the photographer is just a passer-by, just a shutter recorder, and there is no “self” in it.

Therefore, those really powerful photographers have experienced profound stories or are extremely sensitive to life. Without these past, they are not so powerful, nor can they have the depth in their works. It is impossible to buy, learn or wait.

Equipment and technology are low-level things. How can we touch the true face of Japanese photography?

— “Cut down to the essence, but do not peel off its charm. Keep it clean and pure, but do not deprive it of vitality.”

Sometimes I think: Why are some photographers’ works so popular that people can’t understand them at all; Some photographers are diligent in presenting their works, and their photo skills are perfect, but they can only serve as second rate photographers.

I used to think it was because of luck, chance, or lack of good marketing skills. Later, I read more biographies and writings of famous photographers. It seems that I have begun to understand why to become a “born” person, I must first “enter the world”.

Like the photos of Araki Jingwei, I can only understand his photos slowly after reading his words. After his wife Yoko died, the sky became that color in his eyes.

Just like the photo of Ishikawa V-tree, taking a photo was the most real feeling at that time. When my daughter was told that she had an incurable heart disease at birth, everything would be truly understood.

Of course, there are still many examples that were completely incomprehensible at that time, not because there was not enough high-level photography technology (the technical content of the works of the masters was not high), but because there was not enough life experience to understand.Perhaps the essence of photography is cultivation, just like the protagonist in the film, only those who have walked through life painstakingly but still have emotions can see the way of heaven.Japanese is derived from the most authentic experience of life.