The Ama are predominantly female pearl divers from Japan, although their breed is dying out–although new Ama continue to be trained, it is now seen as a grandmother’s job. In a tradition purported to be 2,000 years old, the Ama dived in nothing but a loincloth up until the 1960s. Today, they wear a wetsuit at most. Although this is generally not one’s only job, it is a job that lasts a lifetime–the older divers are reputed to be able to dive the longest.
More can be read about them here, although I prefer to study the images of the Ama through the lens of photographer Yoshiyuki Iwase:
This photograph’s contrast between black and white, extreme posturing of the naked female body, reminds of of Helmut Newton’s fashion photography.
The nude female form in these photographs is presented with awe; their musculature seems asexual in this photo–almost a meditation on human strength. Whereas this:
is a dead ringer for contemporary Western pinup photography. It’s an interesting, mismatched photo series as a whole.
See them all here.
The Snow by Tokujin Yushioka is currently installed at the Mori Art Museum in Japan.
The piece is a part of a larger exhibit called “Sensing Nature.”
Inside the 15-meter tank are millions of feathers that float within.
It must be amazing to behold.
Tokyo Compression is a photoset by German-born, China-based photographer Michael Wolf.
These pictures are tender portraits of hectic souls. Their emotions are carefully stowed away in favor their public persona, but glimpses of their feelings break through, especially in the photo above.
The rain droplets don’t touch her but leave snaking shadows across the planes of her face. Her mouth open and her eyes downcast, she seems occupied and introspective, so much so that she has almost forgotten to guard her own expression. That preoccupation that she embodies is a human condition–I see myself and my own conflicts reflected in the unknowable depth of her eyes.
Full set here.
An art movement inspired by anime and manga, Superflat is a movement made to express the desires and frustrations of an international and stagnant Japan through one of its prominent subcultures. This work is from one of the main Superflat artists today, Yoshitomo Nara. The movement was founded by Japanese artist, Takashi Murakami.
Plumbing the Depths of Superflatness, Michael Darling.
Before and After Superflat, Adrian Favell.