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Five shows to catch at the international photography festival Kyotographie 2020

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Kyotographie is a series of photography exhibitions set in different locations across the city of Kyoto, featuring a wide array works by internationally renowned photographers. The exhibition takes advantage of Kyoto’s most compelling spaces, from former printing plants to heritage temples, which serve as the perfect setting for the stunning installations. 

While the annual festival normally takes place in spring, Kyotographie was postponed for several months due to the coronavirus. Finally, it’s set to begin on September 19 and will run until October 18. Some of the exhibitions are free while others require a paid ticket. Or you can grab a passport ticket for ¥3,500, which grants you access to all the festival exhibitions and programmes. Out of the 16 events, here are five you should not miss.

Wing Shya
Photo: Courtesy of Wing Shya

Wing Shya 

Revered for his work with Wong Kar-Wai on critically acclaimed films such as ‘In the Mood for Love’, Wing Shya is one of Hong Kong’s leading photographers. His signature style often involves intimate, highly saturated images that diverge from the traditional.

In the past decade, Shya has focused on working in film, art and fashion, from making music videos with Chinese pop stars to shooting for luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Maison Margiela. Kyotographie will display some of his most recent works as well as iconic stills from his projects with Wong.  
Where: Kondaya Genbei Chikuin-no-Ma museum
When: 10am to 6pm daily
Price: Adults ¥1,000, students ¥800

Atsushi Fukushima
Photo: ©Atsushi Fukushima

Atsushi Fukushima 

Kanagawa-based Atsushi Fukushima studied photography at the Osaka University of the Arts before completing a graduate course at Tokyo College of Photography. He worked as a delivery man distributing bento boxes to senior citizens, which gave him a rare view of Japan’s aging population. Fukushima says death and aging are things he finds difficult to face, but through his photography, viewers are able to confront the beautiful and ugly aspects of age and mortality. 
Where: Itoyu Machiya
When: 10am to 7pm (until 9pm on Sep 19-22, 25, 26, Oct 2, 3, 9, 10, 16-18) 
Price: Adults ¥1,200, students ¥1,000

Omar Victor Diop
Photo: ©Omar Victor DIOP / Courtesy of KYOTOGRAPHIE

Omar Victor Diop 

Following the success of his first conceptual project at the 2011 Pan African Exhibition of the African Biennale of Photography, Senegalese photographer Omar Victor Diop left his job in corporate communications in 2012 to pursue photography full-time. Diop, who is highly sought after for his portrait and fashion photography, spent a month in Kyoto last year getting to know the shopkeepers of the Demachi Masugata Shopping Arcade.

Kyotographie 2020 will feature two of Diop’s exhibitions: one at the main building of the Former Assembly Room and the other at the Demachi Masugata Shopping Arcade, where his portraits of the shopkeepers there will be displayed. 
Where: Former assembly room of the Kyoto Prefectural Office
When: 10am to 5pm 
Price: Free

Kai Fusayoshi
Photo: ©Kai Fusayoshi

Kai Fusayoshi 

Oita-born Kai Fusayoshi has been an active photographer for over five decades. He started taking photographs when he was 11 years old and has been documenting Japan’s social affairs and counterculture through images of the people in Kyoto ever since.

As the owner of Hachimonjiya, a popular bar in Kyoto, Fusayoshi has cultivated an intimate relationship with the city and its people. His photographs of local residents visiting Kamogawa River will be displayed at three outdoor locations by the river, where Kyotoites can view themselves through another lens. 
Where: Skyway tunnel of the Kyoto Station Building 
When: Open 24 hours 
Price: Free  

Mari Katayama
Photo: ©︎Mari Katayama

Mari Katayama  

Multimedia artist Mari Katayama only held her first solo exhibition in Ebisu in 2014, but has since been asked to showcase her works around the world at festivals such as the 58th Venice Biennale and Paris Photo, both in 2019. Katayama opted to have her legs partially amputated when she was nine years old due to a condition that affected the development of her legs at birth and drew inspiration from her prosthetics in her early work. Her latest series to be featured at Kyotographie, ‘in the water’, features a mesmerising series of self portraits themed around her own unique physicality. 
Where: Shimadai Gallery
When: 10am to 6pm 
Price: Adults ¥800, students ¥600

Kyotographie will run from September 19 to October 18, at multiple sites across Kyoto. See the event website for the full list of featured artists.

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