If you’re in Tokyo and into photography, reserve some time and pay a visit to the “Backyard Project – A Place for Photography.” Backyard Project holds photo workshops, exhibitions, presentations, and other activities you would expect at a photo atelier.
Backyard Project was created by four Japanese fotogs in 2012, and is located in downtown Tokyo. I had the opportunity to visit the Backyard Project in the summer of 2012, and met one of its founders, Kosuke Okahara, a very talented and accomplished photojournalist. Kosuke was a gracious host, telling us the history and concept behind the Backyard Project, and gave us a tour of the facilities.
It was really interesting to listen to some of the background details behind some of his photographs which have appeared in major international publications. My particular favorite was Kosuke’s story of when he had to photograph Kim Jong-il’s personal Japanese chef, Kenji Fujimoto, for a New York Times article.
Man, that story was a big “LOL.”
What really struck me was to hear some of the details behind Kosuke’s Ibasyo story which documents the problem of self-mutilation among young girls / women in Japan. Although you hear of people mutilating themselves everyday (Tibetans lighting themselves up, suicide bombers, teenage girls in America listening to Justin Bieber), the Ibasyo story was just so eerie and intriguing; it just conjures up the stereotypical images of samurai, seppuku, blades, and blood in Japan.
The multimedia presentation below outlines the Ibasyo story from the storyteller himself. If you have a weak stomach, you might want to skip the video.
Very potent story, huh?
Anyhow, it was really cool to talk photography, share life experiences, and just hang out the Backyard Project; a highly recommended place for photo junkies in Tokyo that just want to chill. Check out their website or Facebook page for future events.