A Weekend With Rinko, Sort Of…

This past weekend I attended a workshop at Aperture with noted Japanese photographer, Rinko Kawauchi. The workshop was entitled, “The Poetics Of Photography.” With a title like that, I assumed Rinko would talk about image making, sequencing, and also help students in their endeavor to create more lyrical images and sequences. Instead it was mainly a series of portfolio reviews. Some reviews were worth listening to but there were a few where it became more a private discussion  between Rinko and the student and I saw more than a few participants on the first day more engaged with their iphones than the workshop.

Rinko listening to a participants comments.

Rinko listening to a participants comments.

I assumed when I put my package of photos together that the portfolio would be used to talk about editing and sequencing and so I added images to my portfolio so that participants could take away and rearrange as they saw fit. But it turned out to be a series of individual portfolio reviews. The comments about needing to edit out some images I ignored since obviously I added them in their intentionally. Rinko also made a comment regarding their being two streams of energy which after some consideration I realized again was due to the addition of the superfluous images. So my misconceptions led to an unhelpful review of my work. Or so I thought until Rinko made one comment which made me stand up and listen; she asked, Where is the dark? What are you running away from? Those questions nagged at me all through the evening until I realized that I already made photos of exactly what Rinko was talking about; the images from the working series “Paint it Black”. At that moment that body of work, which I had put aside, not knowing what to do with it or what it all meant, made sense! Up and Paint It Black were the flip sides of the same work! I made a few prints from the series to show Rinko the next day. She said that the work should be pairs one from the Up series and one from this new set. Then she added, you have to edit the first work down. Yes, I know!!!

Personally, it was a very helpful excercise. So I thank Rinko (and her wonderful interpreter) deeply, as well as the friendly staff at Aperture.

The opening of Rinko’s show, Ametsuchi is tonight. She is giving a talk and book signing at Aperture tonight at 6:30. There will be a reception for her tomorrow. Don’t miss it.


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