Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue (49)

[Movie] Talk "30 Years as a New Yorker Cartoonist"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 30 (the final) Midori Kitamura

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

13 years with Irving Penn: creation without parallel

── You were the closest witness to the collaboration between Penn and Miyake-san, and the director of the exhibition. What sort of person did Penn seem like, to you ?

Midori Kitamura (from hereon Kitamura):
Throughout this six month exhibition, many have shared their stories of Penn san with us through talks and on the website. First and foremost, I extend my deepest gratitude to all of those who have contributed to this exhibition. I felt once again the greatness of Penn san, hearing these leading figures who also saw him as their first inspiration.
I worked with Penn san for 13 years. I had never met a person with such a crystal-clear vision of all aspect of life including his own thoughts. But, he never made anyone nervous. During breaks, he would come into our circle smiling and make small-talk before walking away gracefully. He was a charming man but also one who always kept this fine distance.

── At the photo sessions, you played an important role connecting Penn with Issey-san.

Kitamura: Penn san would say to me, "Midori, there is no substitute for you. You make my work easier. Because, you don't say no to this and no to that." (Laughing.) When I went to NY, I had to leave Miyake and that world behind me, and separate myself from the collection. It was my mission to focus upon contributing to the new world that Penn san would create.
Miyake wanted for Penn san to discover a new world in his clothes. He felt that Penn san's photos created a new vision and understanding of his work. Often times, clothes were worn differently, like a skirt worn on the head; sometimes I layered clothes one over another. Well, I once made a model wear a hat upside-down. It was necessary for me to make any effort possible.
During every photo sessions, I would need to make split-second decisions. Ideas that came up during the sessions had to be preserved on film while they were still fresh; which meant there was no time to say, "Wait, I'm going to call the office and check." One of the skills learned from my work with Penn san was never making changes once I had given my word and a decision was made.

── I've heard that Penn san very much looked forward to Miyake-san's photo sittings.

Kitamura: Penn san often told me, "I can't sleep from excitement whenever there is a photo session for ISSEY MIYAKE's clothes." I imagine that Miyake's clothes were like space creatures for Penn san. I think this is what invigorated Penn san's desire to "create and take photos." He must have thought, "What kind of creature will come next?"

── I've heard there is a drawing of you by Penn san.

Kitamura: (Laughing.) On my birthday, someone mentioned, "Today is Midori's birthday", and when I was going about my work, Penn san drew up a sketch on his usual drawing paper and gave it to me. I regret that I cannot show you as it is very personal, but it is my treasure.

── Please tell us what is coming up next for you?

Kitamura: An international publisher will be releasing a complete book of PLEATS PLEASE ISSEY MIYAKE (576 pages) to mark its 20th anniversary. I hope you will have time to take a look.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Photo: Lothar Schmid

Midori Kitamura

Born in Tokyo. Graduated from Ferris University. Since 1976, works under Issey Miyake on collections, exhibitions and publications as attaché de press of ISSEY MIYAKE. Manages developments including creative direction of products such as perfumes and watches. Exhibition Director of "Bulls Eye Special 2008" at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT together with Kazumi Oguro and Katsuhiko Hibino.
President of 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT Inc. since 2009.

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 29 Britt Salvesen

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

An exhibition visualizing the dialogue between two talents

── Tell us about your encounter with Mr. Penn's photographs.

Britt Salvesen (from hereon Salvesen):
I believe this was in 1987. I saw a retrospective exhibition of Penn's works that had started on a world tour from New York's MoMA while it was in London. Several years later, during the 90s, I worked at the Art Institute of Chicago when they received the archive of Penn's works. Here, I had the opportunity to view the retrospective organized by Colin Westerbeck in 1997.

── What do you think of Mr. Penn's photographs?

Salvesen: I think his pictures occupy a very important position in the history of photography. The medium of photography is used for a wide range of purposes - fashion, still-life pictures, literature, private works... He created his works across all of these genres, and elevated them to the level of art. I think his works carry an extremely important message for our era, because they focus on the craft of the object as well as the impact of the image.

── What are your thoughts on this exhibition?

Salvesen: Even by the standards of relationships between artists, the dialogue between these two was very unique. They influenced each other with the most subjective parts of their personalities, like two outstanding tennis players carefully observing and returning their opponent's shots, and pushing each other to greater achievements over time. This exhibition allowed me to tangibly experience their mutually respectful relationship.

── What have you learned from Penn's photographs?

Salvesen: I have never met Penn. However, as a young researcher, Penn taught me many things through his photographs. A cigarette butt or trash dropped on the street may suddenly turn into something beautiful - that, to me, was an amazing discovery.

── If you could own one of Penn's photographs, which would it be?

Salvesen: That's a tough one (laughs). Probably the symbolic "Harlequin Dress" from 1950. That photograph is so powerful that it's impossible to forget it once you saw it.

── Tell us about your recent work.

Salvesen: At LACMA, we are currently holding an exhibition on Ellsworth Kelly's prints and paintings. In the future, we have exhibitions scheduled on Sharon Lockhart in June 2012, on Robert Mapplethorpe (who was also greatly influenced by Irving Penn) in October 2012, and on Mexican cinematographer Gabriel Figueroa in the autumn of 2013.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Britt Salvesen

Curator and Department Head, Photography and Prints and Drawings at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art - LACMA
Britt Salvesen joined LACMA in October 2009. Previously, she was director and chief curator at the Center for Creative Photography (CCP), University of Arizona. Prior to joining CCP, Salvesen was associate curator of prints, drawings, and photographs at the Milwaukee Art Museum (2002-04), and associate editor of scholarly publications at the Art Institute of Chicago (1994-2002). She received her MA from the Courtauld Institute of Art (1991) and her PhD from the University of Chicago (1997).
Among the exhibitions Salvesen has curated are Harry Callahan: The Photographer at Work (2006); New Topographics (2009); Catherine Opie: Figure and Landscape (2010); and Ellsworth Kelly: Prints and Paintings (2012). Future projects include exhibitions of work by Sharon Lockhart, Katy Grannan and Charlie White, Robert Mapplethorpe, John Divola, and a major presentation of the Leonard and Marjorie Vernon Collection.

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 28 Michael Crawford

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Unusual Collaboration Between the Two, Which Realized the Power of Art

── What was your impression of the exhibition? How was it seeing your own work actually moving in animation?

Micheal Crawford (from hereon Crawford):
I was truly moved. I have never seen such a wonderful exhibition. I have worked as a cartoonist for 30 years, but my work has always been in the form of still images on paper. For the first time, I saw my work moving on a large screen, and I am very excited. Pascal, who animated my work, is really amazing.

── Michael, you drew the original drawings for the animation piece in this exhibit. Please tell us about the production process.

Crawford: First, Midori Kitamura gave me a clear direction. She showed me the sketches and I understood very well the process of Issey and Mr. Penn's collaboration. For the next three months, I dedicated myself to drawing and worked alone. I then handed the finished drawings to Pascal, and after some time, he sent me a DVD. I was amazed when I first watched it. It felt like he had brought my sketches to life, and they were vibrantly moving. What was even more amazing was that we had never once worked in the same room.

── Mr. Penn and Issey san never met during their collaboration, either.

Crawford: Right. I think that is what was truly amazing about this exhibition. I think the interest lies in the fact that Mr. Penn and Issey didn't create the piece "together".

── What did you think of the projection exhibit?

Crawford: I watched it with my children who visited Japan with me yesterday, and all of us were moved. The images themselves were of course beautiful, but their size and the gaps between the sequences were stunning. Both Issey's clothes and Mr. Penn's photographs are "sculptures". For me, these pieces were not clothing but closer to sculptures.
I also do painting, so I really understand, but there are really very few opportunities for a collaboration like that between Mr. Penn and Issey in the art world. I felt Mr. Penn had strongly inspired by Issey's work and realized the simple and powerful strength of the art.

── In closing, please tell us about your recent work.

Crawford: I try to make my cartoons as simple and interesting as possible. I try to make my drawings for the New Yorker simple yet funny, so the point gets across in a few words. The more simple the work is, the better the work becomes, and that is what I want to achive.
I have been painting for 20 to 30 years now, and my themes change according to the times. When I focus on painting upon one theme seriously, it encourages me to challenge against a new theme. Now I'm working mainly on the theme of Amerian map. It is a map of the United States with a hint of irony, paintings that make people experience the familiar map of the United States differently.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Michael Crawford
Photo: Carolita Johnson

Michael Crawford

Born in Oswego, New York, 1945. He graduated in 1969 from the University of Toronto, B.A. in English. Worked a number of teaching and construction jobs until he began selling illustrations and cartoons in the late 70s. Sold his first cartoon to The New Yorker in 1981 and has been a regular contributor ever since. His work has also appeared in a number of other publications: The New York Times, New York Magazine, Spy, Paris Match, Harvard Magazine, The Atlantic, Forbes, The Enquirer, Gourmet et al. He is co-editor with Bob Mankoff of The New Yorker Book of Baseball Cartoons. His paintings have been exhibited in group shows in New York, Boston and Hudson, New York. He lives and works in New York City with fellow cartoonist, Carolita Johnson, whose cartoons appear regularly in The New Yorker.

Copyright © 2010 by Michael Crawford

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 27 Sharon Sadako Takeda

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Two geniuses constantly striving for new means of expression

── What do you think of Mr. Penn's photographs?

Sharon Takeda (from hereon Takeda):
I am not familiar with Penn's entire oeuvre; however, his photographs of Issey's clothing designs never cease to amaze me. The way Penn used his own artistry to masterfully capture the essence of Issey's creative and poetic genius is astonishing. The resultant photographs are timeless works of art.

── What are your thoughts on this exhibition?

Takeda: It was wonderful to see the creative outcome of two great talents from different media responding to each other's work. The large projections of Penn's photographs of Issey's creations were exciting to behold! The installation was visually dynamic. I especially appreciated how the images were thoughtfully grouped together and masterfully timed to reveal and dissolve at a different pace throughout the program.

── Is there anything you have learned from Penn's works?

Takeda: Seeing Penn's portraits and still-life photographs next to his photographs of Issey's clothing designs challenges us to search for Penn's inner creative voice. The Penn/Miyake photographs made me think about the importance of constantly taking on new challenges and the joy of finding inspiration from the work of an artist you admire.

── If you could own one of Penn's photographs, which would it be?

Takeda: It is difficult to single out just one Penn photograph but, if I had to choose just one, I would probably pick one of his photographs of Lisa Fonssagrives taken for Vogue. Not only are they beautiful and elegant examples of fashion photography but they appear to be poignant love letters to the woman he would eventually marry.

── Tell us about your recent work.

Takeda: I recently curated the North American debut of "Rodarte: Fra Angelico Collection," an installation of nine one-of-a-kind gowns designed by acclaimed American designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy for Rodarte. My exhibition "Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700 - 1915" will be opening in Berlin and Paris this year. And I am currently working on "Reigning Men: From the Macaroni to the Metrosexual", a comprehensive exhibition of 18th to the present-day men's fashion scheduled to open in 2014.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Sharon Sadako Takeda

Senior Curator and Department Head, Costume and Textiles at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art - LACMA
Major exhibitions at LACMA include "When Art Became Fashion: Kosode in Edo-Period Japan", "Miracles and Mischief: Noh and Kyōgen Theater in Japan", "Breaking the Mode: Contemporary Fashion from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art", and "Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700 - 1915". The Costume Society of America has honored Sharon with the Richard Martin Award for Excellence in the Exhibition of Costume and two Millia Davenport Publication Awards. She was a visiting professor in the Department of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA in 2002-03 and currently serves on the Directing Council of the Centre International d'Etude des Textiles Anciens, an organization for professional textile historians based in Lyon, France.

Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail
"Fashioning Fashion: European Dress in Detail, 1700 - 1915"

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 26 Tamotsu Yagi

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Illuminating the moment over forced fabrication

── How did you discover Irving Penn's photos?

Tamotsu Yagi (from hereon Yagi):
I've seen Penn's photos often in magazines, but the first time I took a really good look at one was when I saw a portrait of Miles Davis on the cover of his album, "TUTU" in 1986.  I received it from Ms. Eiko Ishioka who was in charge of the art direction of that album. 

── What are your thoughts on Penn's photos?

Yagi: Penn's photos are an expression of pure natural beauty.

── Please tell us about a memorable episode if any.

Yagi: In 1991, after I had left ESPRIT and was working as a freelance designer in San Francisco, I received a call from publisher, Nicholas Callaway.  The first work I received from him was to layout the Japanese edition of Irving Penn's photo collection, "PASSAGE."  After the book was completed and I was waiting for the sample to arrive, the printing house sent an entire set of proofs for the book packed on a wooden palette.  I was astounded by the triple-fold front-back proof I received before the book was completed. 

── Please tell us what you learned from Penn's photos or how they influenced you.

Yagi: Expressions are born through subtraction rather than addition.  
Don't be overly expressive. Instead, tell it straight as it is.

── Please tell us about your recent work.

Yagi: In November of 2011, a book about my design work, "THE GRAPHIC EYE of Tamotsu Yagi" was released by ADP.  I am also currently working on a signage program for the Pomona College, a liberal arts college near Los Angeles. 

Tamotsu Yagi

Art Director
Tamotsu Yagi was born in 1949 in Kobe, Japan.  He worked for a multidisciplinary design firm in Tokyo for eighteen years, and moved to California in 1984 when he was named Art Director for the San Francisco based clothing company Esprit.  Here, Yagi was in charge of all aspects of visual presentation and image design, from advertising and catalogues, to packaging, product identification and store graphics.  He soon created the iconic and internationally recognized "Esprit Graphic Look," which led the company to win the AIGA's (American Institute of Graphic Arts) Design Leadership Award in 1986.  In 1990, Yagi was chosen to be a member of the prestigious AGI (Alliance Graphique International), and was one of the youngest inductees in its history.  The following year he ventured out on his own to establish Tamotsu Yagi Design, an independent multidisciplinary studio based in San Francisco.  Within three years, Yagi received the Clio Award for the Tribù perfume bottle he designed for Benetton.  One year later, Yagi was honored by the induction of over 100 examples of his work into the permanent collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  Select works from this collection were also featured in a special exhibit at the grand opening of the SF MoMA building in 1995.

THE GRAPHIC EYE of Tamotsu Yagi
"THE GRAPHIC EYE of Tamotsu Yagi"

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 25 Kazuko Sato

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Creation of dreams traveling between reality and invention

──How did you learn of Irving Penn's photos?

Kazuko Sato (from hereon Sato):
I would say that I learned of Penn's photos through Miyake-san's works rather than Irving Penn's photos alone. The visuals of those days, also introduced in this exhibition, had enormous impact on me. The scenery inside Miyake-san's mind collided with the scenery inside Penn's mind to create work of a different dimension.

──What do you specifically mean by that?

Sato: The viewers can see themselves in the visual and transform to their heart's desire. Those are pictures of a model wearing clothes but every one of them carries a story that transforms from one thing to another. I'm sure that the stories that viewers portray in their minds are all different, but I believe that each one of them is associated to that person's desire for transformation. That's what makes these photos interesting for the viewers. It's not every day that you come to an exhibition that fulfills this universal desire for transformation.

──That's a very interesting point of view. In some ways, it's a very feminine point of view.

Sato: You may be right (laugh.) Both Issey-san's clothes and Penn's photos go beyond genre and time, they travel beyond space and time. When great minds meet, the greatness doesn't just double; instead, it produces results that are squared or even cubed. And they both do it with such freedom. That's the amazing part.

──You're right. They create work without conversation.

Sato: Another thought after seeing their creation is their intricate balance of invention and reality. Design must contain an element of reality. But, people are not inspired if the design contains only reality. "Lie" would not be a good word to describe this, but there is a world of invention and this invented world is where people seek out their dreams. Miyake-san's clothes present us with an enormous dream but they can still be worn when returning to reality. And when you wear his clothes in the real world, they take you drifting back to that dream. Penn drew out the dream part of Issey-san's work to the greatest extent possible and transformed it into something completely new. I am utterly impressed by the skill with which he did this.

──Lastly, please tell us about your recent work.

Sato: Late last year, a book titled, "Italia Bunka Jiten (Encyclopedia of Italian Culture)" was published in celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Italy-Japan Association and Italy's 150th anniversary of national unity. I supervised and authored the section on "Creation"-(Design.) My involvement in this book made me acutely aware of the fact that the definition of "design" has not established itself in the context of history and culture, and that it is up to us to ensure that it will be done so adequately.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)


Kazuko Sato

Graduate of Joshibi University of Art and Design, Department of Design. Studied at the Academy of Fine Arts of Brera on scholarship from the Italian government while studying at the graduate school of the Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. Resided in Milano from the early 60's to the 70's , and the 80's Member of the Italian Journalist Federation. Producer of various Italy-Japan cultural exhibitions. Author of "Alchemia" and "Toki wo Ikiru Italia Design." Guest professor of the Kanazawa College of Art. Guest professor of the Joshibi University of Art and Design. Originator of the "modern design theory."

"Italia Bunka Jiten (Encyclopedia of Italian Culture)"

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 24 Mitsumasa Fujitsuka

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Penn's photos with a touch of surrealism

──What were your thoughts on Irving Penn's photos?

Mitsumasa Fujitsuka (from hereon Fujitsuka):
I'm not very interested in photos taken by other photographers (laughing.) This is because, rather than creating photos as art, I take photos as a journalist. So, I had very little interest in looking at other people's photos as a piece of art. I learned about Irving Penn through Issey Miyake.

──You've known Issey-san for quite a while now.

Fujitsuka: I think it was in the late 1970's or 80's. At the time, I had absolutely no interest in fashion either. I was fine as long as I had my T-shirt and jeans (laughing.) I first met Issey-san when I went to photograph a show on assignment for a magazine called "Interior." While all the other cameramen took only photos of the models posing, I took photos of the entire space rather than just the clothes. After all, I thought that was the normal thing to do. Later on, Issey-san asked me to take photos of his Tokyo collection show.

When I take photos, I'm intrigued more by Issey-san's ideas than his clothes. He is not just a fashion designer. He is a scientist. Looking at his clothes reminds me of film structure and hydrodynamics and made me believe that he is even a learnt man of folklore and anatomy. The music and lighting of the show was also superb.

──Then how did you feel after seeing Penn's photos through Issey-san?

Fujitsuka: He was a surrealist. I saw his works in this exhibition and the book: lips smothered in chocolate, frog legs, and snails. I don't take pictures like this, but I enjoy looking at works of surrealism. It's that aesthetic sense that "beauty is filth and filth is beauty." It's the sense that filth is not the direct opposite of what is beautiful, and there is no such thing as a filthy color. It's quintessential surrealism. I also liked the Bedside Lamp taken in his later years.

──What were your thoughts after seeing the exhibition?

Fujitsuka: It was a very clever exhibition. Penn clipped the background to the extreme and concentrated on the photos. I felt the spirit of a surrealist who creates an abstract world from a perfectly white background. The projection on the giant screen was nice, but I also liked the humorous animation. Everything was in harmony and I felt director, Midori Kitamura's power that had supported Issey-san.

──Please tell us about your recent work.

Fujitsuka: I created a book, "Yukankozo Book Senda Man 1000" which is a 1,000 page retrospective of 40 years of work by architect Man Senda. I've known Senda-san for many years now, and 95% of the photos in this book were taken by me. It is 70mm thick and weighs 2kg.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Mitsumasa Fujitsuka
Photo: KAWABE Akinobu

Mitsumasa Fujitsuka

Born 1939 in Shiba, Tokyo. Graduated from the Tokyo Photography College in 1961. Became a freelance photographer in 1965. Winner of the 1987 Japan Interior Designer's Association award. 1961-1965 photographed monthly magazine, "Japan Interior Design." 1982-2006, photographed cover of monthly magazine, "Shitsunai." 1986, "Kioku no Kenchiku: The Works of Kikou Mozuna" text: Kikou Mozuna. 1987 "Iji no Toshi Jutaku I/II" text: Hiroshi Nakahara. 1991 "Gendai no Shokunin" text: Osamu Ishiyama. 1993, "Yomibito Shirazu" text: Kikou Mozuna. 1995, "Kenchiku Refull" 10 volumes, text: Kengo Kuma. 2002, "Mijika na Technology" photo and text. 2004, "Fujimori Terunobu Tokusen Bijutsukan Zanmai" text: Terunobu Fujimori. 2007, "Kenchikuka Igarashi Tadashi" text: Minoru Ueda. 2008, "Ando Tadao no Kenchiku 3." 2009, "BRIDGE" text: Miyoko Ohno. 2009, "21-seiki no Kenchiku Damashii" text: Terunobu Fujimori. 2009, photo exhibition "Kuramata Shiro: to be free." 2011, "Mokuzo Kasetsu Jutaku-gun" text: Sei Haganuma. 2011, "SENDAMAN 1000" text: Man Senda.


List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 23 Risaku Suzuki

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

The skills and elegance of a craftsman prevailing in every piece of work

──Please describe your image of Penn.

Risaku Suzuki (from hereon Suzuki):
I first encountered Penn while in high school. I found his portrait of Marlene Deitrich in a "LIFE" almanac at the library and a sketch I drew from that picture can be found in my high school anthology.

Later on, after entering photography school, I studied "Moments Preserved" with great conscience. Normally, a still life photo consists of still elements composed in a motif. However, Penn photographed moving objects. For example, he captures fruits with a bee. This makes you fall into the illusion that it is going to bee off any minute and onlookers are lured by this presence that calls forth motion. Penn's photos left a lasting memory through their power to build tension between inner and outer elements.
At the time, I thought of still life, portraits, and snapshots as different genre and I remember the refreshing surprise in the fact that Penn, who I'd assumed a photographer of still life photos, incorporated elements of a snapshot into his work.

──Did you practice with reference to Penn's photos?

Suzuki: Yes. I tried taking CAMEL cigarettes (laugh.) I also looked often at the "Worlds in a Small Room" collection. This photo collection provides data regarding the photographing and developing process and when you look at these, it gives you a good idea of the many different techniques he used like applying excessive exposure and compensating that by shortening the developing time. I experimented quite often too.

──Penn's prints are also well known for their superior technical skills.

Suzuki: One of Penn's representative works is a photo series of objects he picked off the street on his way from home to the studio like cigarette butts, a single glove, and other trifling objects, all of which he finished in beautiful prints using what's called platinum prints. This was like alchemy. I've heard that when Penn purchased equipment, he would prepare as many cameras of the same model as possible and try photographing with every one of them and choose the best one. At the time, cameras were built by hand, hence there were some individual differences. This is only a legend but I believe there was meticulous effort behind his technical skills.

──What do you think makes people attracted to Penn?

Suzuki: There is elegance no matter what the motif. For example, portraits can be divided roughly into those that portray the photographer's relationship with his model and those that turn the model into an object. But, while Penn's portraits handle its models as objects, there is a sense of wonder that goes beyond that. It's as if Penn's unique elegance fills the void between the photographer and his model. At times, Irving Penn is recognized only as a creator of simple and beautiful photographs but in times like today when photographers who can shoot any motif without seeming effort are appreciated, there is much to learn from his stance to approach each and every task with persistence.

──Please tell us about your recent work.

Suzuki: Right now, I am involved in a project called the "Photo-Secession Tokyo" together with photographers Ryudai Takano, Taiji Matsue, critics Minoru Shimizu, and Shino Kuraishi. The book will be released soon so please take a look.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)


Risaku Suzuki

Born in 1963. Risaku Suzuki started his career and showing the works at many exhibitions across the globe. Recent solo-exhibitions; 'Kumano, Yuki, Sakura' (Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, 2007), 'White' (Gallery Koyanagi, Tokyo 2009), 'Yuki - Sakura' (Christophe Guye Galerie, Zurich, 2011). Recent photo collections; 'Mont Sainte Victoire' (Nazraeli Press, 2004), 'Kumano, Yuki, Sakura' (Tankosha, 2007), 'Atelier of Cezanne, Six by Six -set two' (Nazraeli Press, 2011). Public Collection; The National Museum of Modern Art (Tokyo), Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, The Museum of Fine Arts(Houston), International Center of Photography (NY) etc. He teaches at Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music associate professor.

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 22 Hiroshi Kashiwagi

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Penn's peaceful and tranquil eyes

── Penn takes various photos. Which of his photos interest you the most?

Hiroshi Kashiwagi (from hereon Kashiwagi):
One of Irving Penn's representative works is a series of cigarette butts. The cigarette butts strewn on streets and disregarded by passerbys are not themselves beautiful but Penn's composed eyes that gaze intently at them are.

I also love his portraits. That picture in this exhibition of Issey Miyake with what seems like a hood over his head is a nice picture. Issey-san's gaze is strong and Penn draws out this strength to the fullest. I also like his portrait series taken against a background of a sharp V-shaped wall. No matter how much the artist puts on their act, there is a sense of their "raw" self, wafting from within this limited space. Many say that Penn's photos portray humans like objects but these photos clearly convey that he does not "kill" his models.

── You've seen Miyake-san's works over the ages. What are your thoughts on the collaboration between the two?

Kashiwagi: Penn's photos draw out the concept of clothing as conceived by Issey-san and the possibilities within the beauty of their design through a new perspective. On top of that, when you look at his preliminary drawings for photo sittings, you learn that every detail is created through intention rather than coincidence.

During his student days, Issey-san was once put in charge of clothing for a Shiseido poster model. The poster design was created by Makoto Nakamura, a designer who defined an era of Shiseido's graphic design . I once heard from Mr. Nakamura that Issey-san was responsible for everything down to the makeup at the time. The poster photo was taken in a style that is completely different from Penn but Issey-san's clothing and the poses brought out the beauty of the model. I feel a similarity between Issey-san and Penn and that their meeting was by no means a coincidence.

── What are your thoughts on Ikko Tanaka design?

Kashiwagi: Ikko Tanaka was a brilliant graphic designer. He drew out the talents of both Issey Miyake and Irving Penn while preserving their image. He used the photos in a straightforward manner, inserted typography in a simple style, and brought forth intricate changes by arranging their spacing and lineup. Ikko Tanaka was an artist with a wealth of expressions. He was connected with Issey-san and Penn in that he saw the essential character of his themes and clients. I believe that work produced by these three artists will go beyond the borders of fashion and photos and leave its mark in history.

── Please tell us about your recent work.

Kashiwagi: Last year, I published a book titled, "Tantei Shosetsu no Shitsunai (Interiors of Detective Novels)" from Hakusuisha and am currently writing what can be called its sequel. It's about how rooms and spaces are handled inside diaries. I am planning on featuring Soseki Natsume, Torahiko Terada, Hyakken Uchida, Kafu Nagai and about two more authors. It should be out within the year so don't miss it.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Hiroshi Kashiwagi

Hiroshi Kashiwagi

Design Critic, Professor of Musashino Art University, Tokyo (Major is History of Modern Design.)
Born in Kobe in 1946. Graduated with the design degree from Musashino Art University. He has been attempting to spell out modern thought aesthetic through his research in design.
Visiting scholar of the Pratt Institute New York, 2005.
Selected Exhibitions :Curator for the exhibition Tanaka Ikko Retrospective Exhibition, Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo, 2003. Curator for the exhibition Fantaisies Cybernetiques, Maison de la culture du Japon a Paris, 2003-4.
Selected Publication: Modann dezain hihan(Critique of the modern design)Iwanami syoten,Tokyo,02."Shikiri"no Bunkaron (Cultural studies on "boundary")Kodanshsya,Tokyo,04. Tantei-syosetu no shitsunai (Interior of Detective Story)Hakusuisya,Tokyo,11. Dezain no Kyokasyo(The Textbook on Design)Kodansya,Tokyo,11.

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 21 Yasuo Kobayashi

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Clothing, photos, and letters: Thoughts on the moving body

──What was your impression after seeing this exhibition?

Yasuo Kobayashi (from hereon Kobayashi):
I once heard from Issey-san that his greatest influences were Isamu Noguchi and Irving Penn. At the time, I could relate well to how Isamu Noguchi was the roots of his formative design but I was puzzled when it came to Irving Penn. During this conversation, Issey-san spoke of the importance of showing his works to Penn, and that through Penn's perspective he was able to discover a new other self. By looking at his own work through the eyes of Penn's camera, he was able to meet a part of himself that he'd never seen before. I felt this as dialectic, that this involved the workings of the self-other. It made me want to dig deeper from the aspect of culture and representation.

Put differently, when looking at the collaboration between Penn and Issey-san in this exhibition, I had a flash of inspiration that Penn's world associates with letters, or should I say the world of calligraphy. In China, there is a saying that "calligraphy defines the person", and the "person" can also refer to the physical body. Clothing is a form but it is a form as in "body" form, an issue of the human body. Issey-san's designs constantly challenge new materials, but his roots are in the moving body. He neither hides the body nor decorates it. His concept is that the body is movement. I feel that his origins are in form as the "moving body." And, this seemed to connect with the ancient concept of letters. In this exhibition, I felt as if letters rising to their feet from the earth were trying to take flight.

──Please tell us about your talk event held on February 18?

Kobayashi: At the event, I was welcoming Takahiro Nakajima and Masaaki Tsuchiya, professors of Chinese philosophy to discuss Irving Penn's photos and Issey-san's clothing through "letters" and "calligraphy." We introduced several works of calligraphy to interpret Issey-san's clothes and Penn's photos through "letters" and "calligraphy" to see where this would take us. I suspect it allowed us to see the meeting of these two men, Issey-san and Penn on an anthropological scale.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Yasuo Kobayashi

Yasuo Kobayashi

Professor at the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
Kobayashi Yasuo (born 1950 in Tokyo) is Professor of Culture and Representation in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tokyo, Komaba, and Director of the University of Tokyo Center for Philosophy (UTCP). He graduated from the Department of French Studies at the University of Tokyo in 1974, and completed his doctorate in Semiotics under the direction of Claude Abastado at the University of Paris X Nanterre in 1981. He taught at the University of Electro-Communications in Chofu from 1982, and joined the faculty of the University of Tokyo, Komaba in 1986. From 2001 to 2002, Professor Kobayashi served as a Councilor at the University of Tokyo, and in 2002 he received the Ordre de Palme Academique Chevalier, from the Republic of France. From 2002 to the present, he has been Director of UTCP, both under the 21st-Century and Global COE Programs of the Ministry of Education (Monkasho).
Professor Kobayashi has published on a wide range of subjects. His publications include: Hyoushou no Kougaku [The Optics of Representation] (2003), Chi no Odysseia [The Odyssey of Savoir] (2009), and Rekishi no Deconstruction [The Deconstruction of History] (2010). He has also translated a number of French authors, including Derrida, Levinas, and Duras.

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

Article on Sankei Express on the first Sunday

Exhibition "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" is covered by Japanese newspaper "Sankei Express on the first Sunday." It is an interview to Mark Holborn, who gave a lecture at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT.

ref. [Movie] Talk "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake"

Sankei Express on the first Sunday
Sankei Express on the first Sunday

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 20 Michael Thompson

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Penn taught me of the pursuit for simplicity

──You were an assistant at Mr. Penn's studio but what drove you to go there in the first place?

Michael Thompson (from hereon Thompson):
I discovered Mr. Penn's photos while as a student at photography school and I was stunned by the overwhelming simplicity and power of his photos. Mr. Penn's photos contain many messages within its simple image. I was inspired by these photos that carried such an enormous impact.
In 1987, I came out from California to New York to visit Mr. Penn's studio. At a normal studio, you'd think that the assistant would come out at the first interview right? But when I knocked on his door, Mr. Penn answered the door himself. When I found out I'd been hired, I thought I was dreaming. After all, Mr. Penn was a famous top photographer.

──Did Penn have any influence on you?

Thompson: Of course, lots (laugh). Mr. Penn, in his pursuit for simplicity, would start over again and again until he was satisfied. No matter how much work he had on his hands, he developed his prints himself. From that, I learned never to give up until satisfied. He was also a man who placed importance on balancing work with private time. He started at the same time and finished at the same time every day. He was also a very devoted family man.

──What do you focus on when taking photos?

Thompson: How much I can convey through a single photo. A single photo will take a person's heart to a different place. Even among them, a good photo will slip its way inside a person's heart and stir up emotions. The important thing then is that the photo be simple. I believe that a simple photo will communicate the deeper message with greater straightness.

──Are there any memorable words spoken to you by Mr. Penn?

Thompson: I remember a conversation with him on the last day at his studio before setting off on my own. He said, "Michael, do you know the way to keep photo expenses low? Creating the work, paying money to your assistants, renting equipment; all of this takes money. You will have to take on a lot of unwanted work in order to pay those costs. But, if you try not to spend too much regularly, you can choose only the jobs you like and lead a happy and creative life." This is very important and I distinctly remember these words because they very well expressed Mr. Penn who led a life without all the glamour.

──Please tell us about your recent work.

Thompson: In 1993, I took pictures of models painted in blue paint and I'd wanted to challenge this again, only this time using a powerful red. Later on, I had just one day to take photos and so a photo session took place using red paint. The result is the "RED NUDE" photo collection. Don't you think it's interesting how the body is portrayed like an abstract object? At the same time, I published the "PORTRAITS" collection. This was created through photos I had taken and saved over the past 20 years. Here, readers will find celebrities from around the world but they will see an unexpected side of them as well. Please take a look.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Michael Thompson

Born and raised in Washington State, Michael Thompson honed his vision behind the lens at his father's portrait studio.
After earning a degree from the Brooks Institute of Photography, he moved to New York City to assist legendary fashion photographer Irving Penn.
Since then, Thompson has shot models and celebrities for prestigious fashion magazines as well as fregrance and beauty advertising campaigns.
Thompson lives in Oregon with his wife Kelly and their two children, Ruby and Sean.


List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 19 Gan Hosoya

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

My days of Irving Penn

──What was your first impression of Penn photos?

Gan Hosoya (from hereon, Hosoya):
I joined Light Publicity as a designer in 1953 at the age of 18. Since back then, the company purchased American magazines like "Life", "LOOK", "Esquire", "McCall's Magazine", and "seventeen" and I remember being in complete awe of the quality of their editorial design. The photos, illustrations, and typography were all so beautiful and illuminating. I discovered Irving Penn through fashion magazine "VOGUE" and Richard Avedon through "Harper's BAZAAR."
My impression was that Avedon was dynamic and Penn uniquely static.

I distinctly remember the time I saw Penn's portraits for the first time. It may sound exaggerative but it was so magnificent to the point that I remember thinking, "This must be what it means to be happy."
It could be my unique way of perception but when I see something nice, I feel a gush of joy. After that experience, I couldn't stop thinking about Penn's photos and it was literally "Irving Penn day in and day out."

──What was it about Penn's photos that moved you so much?

Hosoya: The reason why a person like me, who is not a photographer, was so impressed by Penn's photos is that other than the beautiful lighting, he focuses heavily on form. Penn's portraits are taken as if photographing objects. Since form is design, in my eyes, Penn's photos have a very strong element of design. Not to mention elegance and dignity too.

As a young man, Penn aspired to be a painter but I think he was greatly influenced after studying design and photography under Alexey Brodovitch, followed by his work with "VOGUE" where he met artist and art director Alexander Lieberman. But the discipline of a painter makes Penn's landscape photos akin to impressionist paintings like Monet and Seurat. His still life photos remind me of Cezanne and Giorgio Morandi.

──Penn produced many types of work. What is your favorite?

Hosoya: His fashion photos and portraits are famous but my pick is his still life and journalistic photos that he took on his travels around the world. I love the "MOMENTS PRESERVED" series and I believe Penn wanted to show photography is about preserving moments in memory. There was a photographer who once said, "Shooting photos means shooting time." I couldn't have put it better myself.

Looking at Penn's photos gives you a very clear idea that photography is visual communication. His photos brilliantly express the "emotion" and "intelligence" standing behind the camera.

──Please tell us about your recent work.

Hosoya: A collection of miscellaneous works written for books and magazines over the years have been compiled into a book titled "hosoya no Hitorigoto" by Hakusuisha to be released in spring.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Gan Hosoya

Gan Hosoya

Art Director
Born in Kanagawa Prefecture in 1935. Graduated from Technical Design Department of the Kanagawa Technical High School in 1953, and entered the company, Light Publicity Ltd. Now the chairman of the company. The chairman of ADC/Tokyo Art Directors Club and the member of JAGDA/Japan Graphic Designers Association Inc. AWARDS=JAAC Award Special Selection (1955, 1956). Tokyo ADC Award Gold Prize and Silver Prize (1959). Mainichi Industrial Design Award (1963). JAAC Members' Award for a collaborative work (1967). Tokyo ADC Members' Grand Prize (1988). JAAC Yamana Prize (1990). Purple Ribbon Medal (2001). EXHIBITION="Persona" graphic design exhibition (1965). "Gan Hosoya Art Direction" exhibition (GA Gallery, 1988). "time-tunnel, hosoya gan ― exhibition of an art director & graphic designer" (Creation Gallery G8, Guardian Garden, 2004). "Creators" (Setagaya Art Museum, 2006). "Last Show ― Gan Hosoya Art Direction" (ginza graphic gallery, 2009). PUBLICATIONS=The Wings of Image: Gan Hosoya Art Direction (1974). The Wings of Image II: GAN HOSOYA ART DIRECTION (1988). Gan Hosoya Design Road Sixty Nine (2004).

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol.18 Eiichiro Sakata

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Exchange with Penn and Avedon in NY of the 1960's

──You have actually met Penn. Can you share with us some episodes from those times?

Eiichiro Sakata (from hereon, Sakata):
I met him a total of three times; in the 1960's, and in the late 70's after I had returned from NY. The first time was during the Irving Penn exhibition in Japan. He was a very quiet man. When he was asked to give a speech at the show reception, he stood up to the microphone and while we all waited to hear his words, he just said, "Thank you." That's it...I was dumbstruck! I worked under Avedon for four years and I must say that he is exact opposite of Avedon in every way. However, Avedon and Penn were good friends who talked often on the phone. Although of course, I have no idea what they talked about (laugh.)

──What a nice episode. What other exchange did you have with him?

Sakata: There is the story of the brush. At the time, there was a Japanese-American photographer named Kaz Inoue who worked as Penn's assistant and his wife, a hair stylist, helped me often during my time in NY. After I had returned to Japan, Mrs. Inoue came to Japan. During her trip, she told me that Penn was looking for a brush to apply materials for making printing paper. So, I took her to Asakusa and arranged for a couple brushes. A few years later, Penn came to Japan so I went to visit him, assuming that he had forgotten about it by that time. However, when I told him that I was close with Kaz Inoue, he replied, "Oh, you must be the one that found my brush. Thank you!" I remember feeling grateful that he had remembered such a trivial event.

──You personally know these two very different masters but what kind of influence have Penn and Avedon had on your photography? Whose photo sessions do you think your own sessions are similar to?

Sakata: I'd say Avedon. I can't stand silence (laugh.) In the past, I was scared of stepping into people's hearts when taking photos. But, it's not me to take photos in silence like Penn. Which reminds me; Avedon once told me, "You must have taken the wrong turn because you are like Jerry Lewis." (Laugh.) Now that I think about it, I think he was spot on.

──Please tell us about your recent work. I'm sure that many have seen your AERA covers. You've taken portraits of some of the most famous people on earth but do you still get nervous regardless of your experience?

Sakata: There is quite some time until my next exhibition so for now, everyone can see my work on the AERA covers. It's already been 23 years since I started but I was constantly nervous for the first six. I mean, it was always pictures of state-class figures like Arafat. But then again, I'm Jerry Lewis (laughing.) I pride myself in making my photo shoots entertaining and that's why I'm always asked to take pictures before the interview.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Eiichiro Sakata

Eiichiro Sakata

Born in Tokyo. Joined Light Publicity after graduating from the photography department of the Nihon University College of Art. 1966, moved to the United States and studied under Richard Avedon. Turned freelance in 1970 and rose to prominence through solo exhibition, "Just Wait." Main photo collections include, "Chumon no Ooi Shashinkan (A Photo Studio with Many Orders)", "amaranth", and "PIERCING THE SKY." He has continued to photograph covers for "AERA" magazine for 23 years since its first publication. 1993, hosted a photo exhibition and workshop at Les Rencontres d'Arles International Photography Festival. Winner of the Arles Honorary Citizen Award. 2005, "PIERCING THE SKY" won the 24th Domon Ken Award and the Photographic Society of Japan, Lifetime Achievement Award.

AERA Cover
"AERA" Cover('11.8.22)

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol.17 Tetsuo Fukaya

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

A man who breathed the air of New York and reassembled it through his unique golden rule

──You lived in New York during Penn's times.

Tetsuo Fukaya (from hereon, Fukaya):
Mr. Penn was like a god even back then. New York at the time was like a medium itself and a city that influenced the entire world, especially in creative fields- same as it ever was even today. The city was very flashy and bursting with vanity in a good sense. In that city, Mr. Penn was in a different realm; I remember him as being really simple and rustic.

──You've joined one of Penn's photo sessions. What was the studio like?

Fukaya: In those days, studios of most New York fashion photographers were a gathering place for fashion editors where gorgeous lunch catering was provided. Except Penn's studio that was so simple. It was far from big, it had only the bare minimum, and photo sessions were carried out under splendid natural light. I believe that Mr. Penn did not need all that excess because he had a clear idea of what was important when pressing the shutter. When I sat in on the session, it was for Issey-san's clothing and I remember him setting up the lighting carefully. Those were pretty much straight forward and simple.

──How did your interaction with Penn influence you?

Fukaya: He taught me how to address my subjects from a multidimensional perspective and importance of looking deep into every side. I acquired the eyes which catch personal history oozing out of a person, ethnographic perspective, and learned how to look at objects like flowers and cigarette ends with inspiration that comes from modern art flowing through the city, and that it is possible and such splendid it is to reassemble my subjects through all-embracing beauty. Regardless of changing times, Penn, with his arms wide open, accepted the tides of this city of New York and reassembled it through his unique language, his flawless golden ratio. He wasn't just a genius who was inspired by the city and the times but he himself was a true New Yorker.

──Please tell us about your recent projects.

Fukaya: Many of projects I am currently involved are confidential, but I am engaged in development and restructuring of brands. In Japan, there are dozens of handiworks, technologies, and creative works that are difficult to be recognized and appreciated worldwide because of its unique Japanese context. My goal is to produce brands and products that heighten its value and let their existence be known throughout the world. I want to continue to devote to promotion of the appeals of Japan's products and brands so that people will understand and identify those as values of today.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Tetsuo Fukaya

Tetsuo Fukaya

1956: Born in Tokyo
1979: Graduated from Keio University Department of Law, Faculty of Law
1979: Resides in New York, working between Tokyo and NY
Pursued a musical career mainly in NY as a musician contracted with Warner Brothers.
At the same time, acted as Associate Editor of BRUTUS in Tokyo and a freelance photographer.
1990: Set up KAITAISHINSHA Inc. in Tokyo.
Main areas of business are in brand development, media production, and market analysis.

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

[Movie] Talk "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake"


Exhibition "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" is covered by German magazine "HEAR THE WORLD."


"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 16 Jasper Morrison

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

The power of Penn's photography that shines bright in the age of processed photos

──Please tell us about your first encounter with Irving Penn's photography.

Jasper Morrison (from hereon, Morrison):
It was sometime soon after the publication of "Worlds in a Small Room" around 1976 that someone in my family bought a copy and I first came across a Penn photo. I was very impressed by that book and as I had just taken up photography myself it made a powerful impression on me. There was nothing fake about any of Penn's photo's, just the beautiful truth.

──What do you think, or how do you feel about his photos?

Morrison: I think they have maintained their power completely, perhaps they have even more impact these days with so much 'photoshopping' going on. I particularly like his still lives, in fact I just bought one of some steel blocks.

──Do you have any specific episode of Penn or his photography to share with us?

Morrison: I feel very close to Irving Penn, as if I knew him but no, I never met him and apart from the episodes there is only one other notable one. That was attending the opening of the exhibition "Irving Penn & Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" at 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT, where I felt again the same powerful sense of authenticity, humour, visual genius and originality that characterises Penn's work.

──Please tell us about your recent work (exhibition, publication, new project etc.)

Morrison: I'm just completing a small book called 'Jasper Morrison au Musée', which is about an exhibition I made in Bordeaux in the museum of decorative arts, where I integrated some of my designs into the collection of 17th and 18th Century antiques. It was a great experience trying to combine the pieces well with their 'ancestors'. As usual I am working on 4 or 5 chair projects and a variety of other products like shoes, tv, cast-iron pan........

Jasper Morrison
Photo: Suki Dhanda

Jasper Morrison

Born in London in 1959, and graduated in Design at Kingston Polytechnic Design School, London (1979-82 BA (Des.)) and the Royal College of Art for Postgraduate studies (1982-85 MA (Des.) RCA). In 1984 he studied on a scholarship at the Hochschule der Künste Berlin. In 1986 he set up his Office for Design in London.
Today Jasper Morrison Ltd. consists of three design offices, a main office in London and two branch office: one in Paris and one in Tokyo. Services offered by Jasper Morrison Ltd. are wide ranging, from tableware and kitchen products to furniture and lighting, sanitaryware, electronics and appliance design and more recently watches & clocks. Occasionally, Jasper Morrison Ltd. even tackle urban design projects. In 2005, founding of Super Normal with Naoto Fukasawa. In June 2006, first Super Normal exhibition in Tokyo. In 2009 opening of the Jasper Morrison Limited Shop in London. In 2011 opening of the webshop of the Jasper Morrison Limited Shop.

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 15 Tokujin Yoshioka

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Unwavering "strength"
The extraordinary power of Penn's photos

──You were at Miyake Design Studio exactly when the collections introduced in this exhibition were created. Are there any episodes you can share with us regarding those times?

Tokujin Yoshioka (from hereon,Yoshioka):
I came to know Mr. Penn's creations through Issey-san. Issey-san showed me Mr. Penn's photos and Ms. Midori Kitamura told me stories of the photo session. Penn photographed hats which I was in charge of design for the Paris collection. I purchased those cuts and have treasured them ever since. Also, Issey-san once told me, "Go and see New York" and so, I visited Penn's studio during the visit. Unfortunately, I could not see a photo session but I sat in a meeting to review the clothes. I have an impression of him as being a gentle and silent man.

──What is your impression of Penn's photos?

Yoshioka: There is a famous episode, though about someone else's hat. Once, there was a hat designed using bread but the bread had molded during shipping. However, when that hat arrived at Mr. Penn's doors, he marveled that the "mold was beautiful" and took the photo of the hat with the mold still on it. I think that episode is very symbolic of Mr. Penn.

Mr. Penn's photos are not just beautiful but they seek out the beauty in "raw moments" of destruction at times and other times decay. This form of expression also contains overwhelming power. I've never met a photographer that takes such powerful photos.

The number of people who have seen his photo sessions are only a few but I've heard from a model that he photographed in very dark rooms. The shutter speed was slow so the model had to keep still and I've heard that was quite some work.

──What have you learned from Penn's photos?

Yoshioka: Strength. I believe this is the most difficult task of all and I am impressed by works that exhibit strength just by being there and making the entire creative process seem effortless. This is what I aspire to achieve.

──Please tell us about your recent work.

Yoshioka: The Orsay Museum was renovated in 2011 and "Water block" are installed in the impressionist gallery for this renovation project. The pieces sit in a gallery that houses impressionist masters such as Manet, Renoir, Degas, and Cezanne and you can actually sit on them when looking at the paintings. Please stop by if you have a chance to visit Paris.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Tokujin Yoshioka

Tokujin Yoshioka

Born in 1967. Established Tokujin Yoshioka Inc. in 2000. His works, which transcend the boundaries of product design, architecture, and exhibition installation, are highly evaluated also as art.
Many of his works are displayed as a part of permanent collections in the world's well-known museums, including Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, and Musee d'Orsay, Paris.
He received prizes such as "Design Miami, Designer of the Year, 2007", and "A&W Architektur & Wohnen/Designer of the Year 2011".
Appeared in television broadcaster TBS's documentary program, "Jonetsu Tairiku" and selected by the Japanese edition of Newsweek as one of the "100 most respected Japanese by the world."

「Water block」
"Water block" (Impressionist gallery, The Orsay Museum)

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 14 Jean-Luc Monterosso

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Gentleman with politeness and elegance in the photography art

──How did you encounter Irving Penn?

Jean-Luc Monterosso (from hereon, Monterosso):
Thanks to Peter MacGill, I met Irving Penn 20 years ago. I was very impressed with his works. For me, Penn is one of the greatest photographers in the 20th Century. He received me in his studio, which should be described as laboratory because all was impeccable and neat there. His gaze, luminous and intense, first was very impressive. After one hour of interview, his extreme politeness and elegance totally captivated me. For me, Penn is par excellence the gentleman of photography. Immediately we became friends.

──What do you think about his photos?

His photographs are in his image; perfect, balanced and obvious. I insisted on giving his name to one of the rooms of Maison Européenne de la Photographie because his work always appeared me to be a school of rigor and beauty.
Contrary to what one might think, Penn doesn't manufacture any image. He reveals it.

──Do you have any specific episode of Penn or his photography to share with us?

It was an intimate moment. In his totally white studio, some weeks after wife Lisa Fonssagrives died, he fell in my arms, murmuring "It is I that should have passed away, not she."
Given that nobody is as modest and reserved person as him, showing tears was a moment full of emotion.

──Please tell us about your recent work (exhibition, publication, new project etc.)

Now, photography is going through a revolution. As museum director, my initiatives consist in trying to account for the shift from silver halide photography to digital photography as pertinently as possible.



Director of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie
Jean-Luc Monterosso, who received an advanced degree in philosophy, is the founder and director of the Maison Européenne de la Photographie, which was inaugurated in 1996. He created the first Mois de la Photo à Paris (Paris Photography Month) in 1980, and the Mois européen de la Photographie (European Photography Month) in 2004. He is a frequent contributor to catalogues and other publications, and has curated numerous exhibitions, both in France and abroad.

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 13 Tenmei Kanoh

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Penn's Photographic Skills and Spiritual Eye Seen in Still Photos

──When did you first encounter Irving Penn photos?

Tenmei Kanoh (from hereon, Kanoh):
It was during high school so when I was 17 or 18. My father back in Nagoya was a graphic designer. So naturally, there were many western magazines in my home. I saw pictures by people like Irving Penn and Hiro in those magazines but even among them, Penn's still life photos were exceptional. It transcended Japanese aesthetics, or should I say the Japanese sense and even though it was completely foreign, it wasn't was something completely different.

His still life was especially great. When taking still lifes, you settle your emotions and enter into a conversation with your motif. When Cezanne painted still life, he used a method which portrayed the objects from a different angle than was actually seen. Penn's photos are like western paintings too, but in some ways, they go beyond that. He looks and sees beyond, or should I say he sees through his objects. He has this visionary power to embrace his objects and make it a part of his self. I was spellbound by that.

Penn's photos capture the essence of things but at the same time; destroys this essence to turn it into his own world. This "power of destruction", if you could call it that..., his strength, his confidence, and his capability of portrayal was out of the ordinary. That is why it was neither Japanese nor American; it created a world unlike any other. Penn also took many advertising photography but even then, he maintained the Penn world while keeping his aesthetic space completely intact. I think that this photographic techniques and spiritual eye have influenced photographers all over the world.

──Please give us your thoughts after seeing the exhibition.

Kanoh: First of all, I was impressed with Miyake-san's instinct to request Penn to take the photos. And I understood well that it was thanks to Ms. Kitamura always working between the two and maintaining their distance that they were able to take such great photos for 13 years. I was impressed by both men. Penn's photos are spectacular but when seen on a large screen, Miyake-san's rare talent is well-highlighted too. It was a completely new genre that transcends fashion. It was simply amazing.

──Please tell us about your recent work.

Kanoh: "SCANDAL extra Takashi Kijima Tenmei Kanoh" was a joint exhibition with my mentor, Takashi Kijima, who passed away this past February. The exhibition featured Kijima-san's nude photos along with reprints of my "FUCK" debut series. "FUCK" is a collection of different sex patterns captured at parties in New York and this is the series that suddenly brought me to fame the day after it was announced.

Another is the "Katame no Zarathustra" exhibition held in Nagoya. This exhibition featured works that uses a new way of expression mixing photography and painting. Photos are printed on what's called a canvas print and I added artwork to these photos. All proceeds from this exhibition will be donated to the Great East Japan Earthquake relief effort. The exhibition will also be held in Tokyo and Osaka.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Tenmei Kanoh

Tenmei Kanoh

Born February 1942 - currently lives in Japan. One of the most influential photographer in Japan since 1960's. Also a writer, DJ, Actor, and various other art performances.
Japan Advertising Artists Club Award, Asahi Advertising Award, Mainichi Advertising Award, Annual Calendar Award, Poland Poster Award, etc.
official HP

Katame no Zarathustra
From exhibition "Katame no Zarathustra"

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 12 Katsumi Asaba

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

The most important trait to man is his outstanding "power of observation"

──When did you first encounter Penn's photos?

Katsumi Asaba (from hereon, Asaba):
I think it was around my senior year of high school. There is an American Culture Center in Yokohama and in that library were many magazines like VOGUE, Harper's Bazaar, and Esquire. I used to go there to look at the photos by Avedon and Penn. I can't think of any other photographer that sketches so well. I only know of two. Irving Penn and Taiji Arita. Arita was a photographer turned painter in later years. I think Penn did everything himself from art direction to shooting.

──Is there anything you learned from Penn's photos?

Asaba: His contact with different cultures. He traveled the world on his own feet; he saw what was essential, and caught on photo the wisdom and splendors that each ethnic group had created throughout their history. He captured the humanity burrowed deep inside people. It's amazing. The power of observation is man's most important trait and he was an outstanding one at that.

Lately, I often say that the 4 most important things for a person of expression are to "look with purpose", "think with purpose", "breathe with purpose", and to "work with purpose" and I think Penn did all of these. I can imagine Penn looking with purpose at Issey-san's clothes upon their arrival, thinking with purpose on what kind of photo he will take, breathing with purpose at times as he drew out his ideas on sketch, and working with ever such purpose on the photo sessions.

With sketches, ideas start pouring out naturally as you draw. For me too, when I wake up in the morning, I sit at my calligraphy table, brush in hand, and draw spirals spinning to the right and left. I believe daily trainings like this will show someday in my art. I think Penn also trained well; like a monk in training.

──I imagine you're always busy but please tell us about your recent work.

Asaba: Lately, I've been working on the "NEW Tsunami Ishi (Tsunami Rock.)" The first Tunami Ishi was erected on Nehama Beach of Kamaishi, Iwate in memory of all those who lost their lives and also as a monument that will continue reminding to future generations, the terror of the Great East Japan Earthquake tsunami. The letters, "3.11, 2011" were turned into design and engraved on the rock. This project has called out to other designers and the goal is to erect 500 stone monuments across 500km of the coastline along Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima prefectures which was struck by the tsunami.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Katsumi Asaba

Katsumi Asaba

Art Director
Born in 1940 in the Kanagawa Prefecture. Founded the Katsumi Asaba Design Studio in 1975, after studying at the KUWASAWA DESIGN SCHOOL and working at Light Publicity Co., Ltd. He has designed advertisements for Suntory, The Seibu Department Stores Ltd., Misawa Homes Co., Ltd., and many others. He is the chairman of the TOKYO TYPE DIRECTORS CLUB, when he is not busy exploring the relationships between written and visual expression; and has a particular interest in the rich cultural heritage of writing in Asia. He has been awarded the Tokyo Art Directors Club Grand Prix, the Shiju Award, among others. In addition to chairing TDC, he is a member of the board of JAGDA (Japan Graphic Designers Association Inc.), chairman of the Design Association, organizer for Enjin01 Cultural Strategy Council; a committee member of the ADC (Tokyo Art Directors Club) , and a member of the Alliance Graphique Internationale. Asaba is also a Visiting Professor at the Tokyo Zokei University and at the Kyoto Seika University, The president of KANAZAWA DESIGN SCHOOL. His principal area of expertise lies in the pictographic Dongba script used in rituals by the Naxi tribe in China. He also holds the title of sixth degree master in table tennis (Japan Table Tennis Association).

NEW Tsunami Ishi (Tsunami Rock.)
NEW Tsunami Ishi (Tsunami Rock)

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

Article on Art & Culture Magazine

Exhibition "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" is covered by Korean magazine "Art & Culture Magazine."

Art & Culture Magazine
Art & Culture Magazine

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 11 Yuriko Takagi

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Penn's photos are the exact opposite of me...which makes them all the more attractive

──You photograph PLEATS PLEASE ISSEY MIYAKE clothing in your photo collection but your style is completely different from that of Irving Penn.

Yuriko Takagi (from hereon, "Takagi"):
I've never told this to a single soul until now but I was so conscious of his photos back then! (Laugh) Call me arrogant but I had such a strong image that Issey-san's clothes=Penn's photos that I had this secret desire, that if I were to take photos of his clothes, I would take them in a way that Penn would never think of doing.

Penn's photos possess an overwhelming style and high-strung tension. I've never visited his studio but I imagine a tightened atmosphere so quiet that you can hear a pin drop. Meanwhile, I like to capture the naked expression and vibes of my models. But even so, all of my photos are actually staged and I make an effort of capturing the natural movement of the person and clothing born from within that setting.

After seeing Penn's photos again at this exhibition, I was impressed by the meticulously calculated fusion of weight and lightness. They are completely different from the current trends in photography and clothing. Today, everyone likes things light. Nobody uses the word, "tense" and they avoid what is heavy. However, I believe that Penn's powerful photos possess a brilliant extraordinariness that carry on new messages to the young people of today.

──Penn and Miyake-san's collaboration was born without conversation; only by looking at each other's works. They never once gave orders to each other. How was it for you?

Takagi: On the first India trip, I asked Issey-san to lend me his PLEATS. He asked me, "What are you going to do?" So I replied, "I want to have local people I meet overseas wear PLEATS PLEASE and take photos of them." And he said, "That sounds like a good idea" and he lent me 60 pieces. When I put on a slide show for him at the company upon return, he was very impressed. From there on, I took an entire series in Kenya, China, and Morocco. As can be said through Penn's photos, Issey-san is a truly amazing person in that he trusts you to take the photos that you truly desire and accept you based purely on what you have taken.

──Please tell us about your recent work.

Takagi: I've recently been working on a series titled, "THREADS OF BEAUTY." Until now, I've brought clothing from Japan for the people of the world to wear but I soon realized the importance and beauty of the traditional clothes these people wear in their daily lives. From nomads of Iran to India, and China, I have traveled through about 12 countries, shooting with focus on the everyday clothes worn by the people of each country.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Yuriko Takagi

Yuriko Takagi

PUBLICATION: Nus intimes (Yobisha), Confused gravitation (Bijutsushuppansha), Skin Yuruiko Takagi x Kozue Hibino (Fusosha), In and Out of Mode (Gap Japan)


List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

[Movie] Talk "Working with Irving Penn"

Article on tl.mag

Exhibition "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" is covered by Belgian magazine "tl.mag".



Exhibition "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" is covered by Italian magazine "CORRIERE DELLA SERA STYLE MAGAZINE".
The article is written by Paola Antonelli, the senior curator at the Museum of Modern Art.


Article on Domus

Exhibition "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" is covered on Italian website "Domus."


"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 10 Peter Barakan

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Inimitable Photographs and Clothing like Music by Thelonious Monk

──What are your thoughts after seeing the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" Exhibition?

Peter Barakan (PB):
Seeing this exhibition it was evident that Irving Penn was a photographer who set up his shots in enormous detail in order to capture the images he had in his mind, as opposed to someone like Henri Cartier-Bresson, for example, who was a genius at capturing the 'definitive moment.'. You feel it especially in the large blow-ups; he must have spent an enormous amount of time on makeup and lighting. But although his photos are calculated in every detail, it doesn't look that way at all. They speak directly to the senses. The same kind of thing happens with musicians too. Even people with a genius for improvisation often practice for hours every day, and moving performances are the result of a lot of sheer hard work that we don't think about when listening to the music. In fact, if you do become aware of that effort it can really turn you off. With Irving Penn's work it looks very natural at first glance, but when you look carefully the depth in the work reveals itself. And in addition to the incredible quality of Penn's photos, Miyake Issey's clothes possess a unique aesthetic that is leaves you speechless.

── I agree. I imagine that Miyake-san's clothes struck a chord with Penn as well.

PB: No doubt. These photos have such an impact that you wonder if there could possibly be another photographer who could interpret Issey's designs so well. I'm basically a music person, but I think that in the same way that Issey-san's work is literally inimitable, in music, for example, you have people like the jazz pianist Thelonious Monk. He has all these little traits that are uniquely his, and you know it's him as soon as you've heard a few notes. That's why only musicians who truly understand his nature can play with him. I think the same applies for Miyake Issey's clothes. It would be really hard for someone that doesn't have a deep understanding of his work to create photographic art out of Issey's clothes. When you see Irving Penn's photos you can tell that he understood.

── You did Miyake-san's voice in the animation for this exhibition. What were your thoughts after performing the dialogue between Penn and Miyake-san?

PB: I really felt, in a good sense, the distance between the two. Irving Penn never once attended one of Issey's fashion shows, and Issey never once sat in on a photo session. It seems both were conscious of maintaining that distance. I can relate to that.
If it weren't for that short animated film on show at the exhibition, I'm sure the process in which those posters were created would be something most people never even thought about. I thought Midori Kitamura's idea to focus on clarifying that process was a very good one. At any rate, I really think this exhibition is a masterpiece. There's nothing elaborate; the presentation is simple but powerful and it is an exhibition that people will want to go back to several times.

── Thank you. Lastly, please tell us about your recent work.

PB: A column that I wrote for the Japanese version of Playboy magazine for about 6 years has been published as a book, "Peter Barakan Ongaku Nikki (musings on music and radio....)". If you can read Japanese, please give it a read!

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Peter Barakan

Peter Barakan

Born in London in 1951. Graduated Japanese department of School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, in 1973, and has been living in Tokyo since 1974. Has worked in broadcasting since 1980, with particular emphasis on introducing a wide variety of music from different parts of the world to a public that is often force-fed only what is commercially convenient for large corporations.
Currently hosts a weekly free-form radio programme on NHK-FM, and a weekday morning programme for Tokyo area commercial station Inter FM, in addition to the Japanese broadcast of the US news magazine show 60 Minutes. Also co-hosts a weekly talk show "Begin Japanology" in English for public broadcaster NHK's foreign satellite service NHK World, introducing different aspects of Japanese culture to an international audience. Has written several books including a beginner's guide to soul music, and and a book explaining some of the subtleties of rock lyrics for Japanese readers.

"Peter Barakan Ongaku Nikki (musings on music and radio....)"

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"


Exhibition "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" is covered by Taiwanese magazine "ART COLLECTION + DESIGN."


"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 9 Taishi Hirokawa

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Original Prints with Overwhelming Power

──Which Penn series is most memorable for you?

Taishi Hirokawa (from hereon, Hirokawa):
When I was asked by Kazuko Koike to photograph a catalogue for the 1980 "Evolution of Fashion" exhibition at the National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Ms. Koike handed me "Inventive Paris Clothes" as reference. I always admired Penn's works but these photos were a first for me. It was a completely new experience. I assume it was taken in Penn's studio but I distinctly remember the photos with the close trimming, squeezing in the head and foot combined with the unique backdrop.

Later on in the late 80's there was a Penn retrospective at the Pace/Macgill Gallery in NY. This is where I saw his original vintage print for the first time. It was quite a shock. Of course, it didn't look vintage at all. It had this quality as if it had been developed only recently and this is when I realized what it meant to archive a photo. I mean it's clear as day. It hits you with a pounding force, utterly impressive.

Though Penn was still alive at the time, this is when I realized that photos keep on living even after its creator's death and how important it is to always maintain a complete archive of your prints. I'm nowhere as close to Penn but this is when I vowed to make a habit of archiving as much as possible while still alive (laugh).

──Please tell us what you learned from Penn photos.

Hirokawa: This applies to photographs in general but the moment you press on the shutter means everything. Whereas with paintings which you can fix by painting over the spot; photographs are a one-time shot. You can only take it at that moment. I don't know if I learned this from Penn but his photos helped me realize once again the importance of capturing the moment.

──Lastly, please tell us about your recent work.

Hirokawa: I'm a bit perplexed to be gathering attention in this way (wry grin) but my "STILL CRAZY" nuclear power plant series released 18 years ago has been put on exhibit again recently at several galleries. I felt the need to show them again now at this time. Also, though not for presentation, I am working on a project in which I take photographs of families living in the temporary houses at evacuation centers in Soma and Kesennuma and send these as gifts to them. I have also given single-use cameras to the children at the evacuation centers and asked them to take photos for a joint photo exhibition in the future. These are some of the ways that I am working with the people of Tohoku.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Taishi Hirokawa

Taishi Hirokawa

Born in 1950, HIROKAWA Taishi started his career as a photographer in 1974.
In addition to his work in advertising photography, television commercials, etc., he works as a professor at the Tokyo Polytechnic University, and is well known in the international photographic art world. He has held numerous solo exhibitions and been invited to participate in exhibitions around the globe. Among the prestigious awards he has received are the Kodansha Publishing Culture Award; New York ADC Award; Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Award; Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Award; Photographic Society of Japan Award; Motion Pictures and Television Engineering Society of Japan: Technical Award; A.C.C. Gold Award and ACC Best Filming Award. His works are to be found in the collections of Princeton University Art Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, National Library of France, Munich Lenbachhaus Museum, Kobe Fashion Museum, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, etc.

"Families at Evacuation Centers: Soma, Fukushima. June 8, 2011"

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

Article on fashiontrend

Exhibition "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" is covered by Italian magazine "fashiontrend."


"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 8 Naoto Fukasawa

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Irving Penn may actually be the man who brings ISSEY MIYAKE images to shape

──Please give us your thoughts on Irving Penn photos.

Naoto Fukasawa (from hereon, Fukasawa):
My personal interpretation of Irving Penn is that he is a man who remains steadfast on his vision once set. I think this firm attitude speaks for itself in his work. When you work in this profession, it's a continuous cycle of revising the unbalance and asking questions until you reach a certain point. I think Penn has the power to instantly crystallize undoubting strengths and concepts without fail.
This strength may be apparent all the more because we see it through photographs.

──What was your impression after seeing the exhibition?

Fukasawa: Penn's collaboration with Issey-san was introduced through animation and it was the first time that this process of the two artists was revealed, which made for a very refreshing experience. Everyone knows what great artists that Irving Penn and Issey Miyake are but the background to their collaboration as in the wealth and magnitude of what they made had never been revealed. It was very inspiring.

In contrast to Irving Penn, Issey-san tends to question the ideas that come to mind. He is always conscious of putting himself in midst of the doubt and completing the process while waiting for the moment of crystallization. This is his unique way of working as well as an indication of his strength and the sternness with which he works. This was quite an impact.

──What did you think about the collaboration between Issey Miyake and Penn?

Fukasawa: Irving Penn interprets Issey-san's creative process, his ideas and perspective and captures this on camera with clear focus. These photos embrace a certain power which adamantly states, "This is what Issey thought" no matter what anyone says. And I think when Issey-san saw Penn's photos; he was also persuaded like, "Aha! So that's what I must've been thinking!" And it was a repeated cycle of this process. Both artists are focused in their expression and when their two paths cross, they fit perfectly together.

It's like a jazz jam session. At first, you play without thinking ahead to what the other musician will play but they create beautiful music nonetheless. But then, there is a point where they go beyond this and Irving Penn knows more about Issey-san than Issey-san himself. That moment shows in these works. In other words, Irving Penn may actually be the person that brings ISSEY MIYAKE images to life. I say this because Penn's images are the ones imprinted in the minds of people all over the world. In that sense, I am amazed by Issey-san's intuition to collaborate with this artist, Irving Penn.

──Please tell us about your recent work.

Fukasawa: Recent works, though a bit unusual, was the renewal of the MUJI Aoyama shop. It was a project called, "Found MUJI." Rather than making something new, the concept of this project was to "search" for objects used over the years around the world and present them through the MUJI filter. Visitors will be able to seek out new value in ordinary objects. I went on a search for various objects in China and India too. Please come visit.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Naoto Fukasawa

Naoto Fukasawa

Product designer
In 1989, Fukasawa left Japan for the United States where he worked for eight years at IDEO in San Francisco. He returned to Japan in 1997 to establish a Tokyo branch of the company. In 2003 he founded Naoto Fukasawa Design. Fukasawa's design widely ranges from portable digital assisting products such as watches and mobile phones to personal computing products, electronics, household goods, furniture and interior design. He has been collaborating with representative brands in Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, Scandinavia and Asian countries for their product developments. Fukasawa's work is highly respected for the way it uses the senses to connect people and objects and enhance the pleasure of those using the product. Publications include "Dezain no Rinkaku (The contours of design)" (TOTO Shuppan), and co-author of "Dezain no Seitaigaku (The ecology of design)" (Tokyo Shoseki).

Found MUJI Aoyama shop

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 7 Katsuhiko Hibino

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

The similarities between Denchu Hirakushi, Irving Penn, and Issey Miyake

──Please tell us your thoughts after seeing the exhibition.

Katsuhiko Hibino (from hereon, Hibino):
I have strong recollections of Irving Penn photos as posters but I never knew the stories behind them. So, it was good to have the opportunity to learn about the photographer's interaction with Issey-san and see his sketches. The production process conveyed well how they fit together like a puzzle. I assume that the moment Penn started drawing his sketches, the styling, hair, makeup, lighting, and every other detail of the pictures was set in place.

Right before coming to 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT, I saw works by Denchu Hirakushi at a sculpture exhibition at the University Art Museum, Tokyo University of the Arts and saw how the artist seemed to have carved one piece of wood from different angles and stopped suddenly at one point. It seemed as if a shape that had been burrowed inside the wood had risen to the surface rather than having been carved from the outside. This can also be said for Penn photographs in that he sculpts and captures the situation rather than simply cutting out what's in front of him. Photographs were probably his tool for completing this act.

Penn and Issey-san's works are similar to Denchu's sculptures with its sharp, well-rooted focus.

──Please tell us about your recent work.

Hibino: I have been building a ship lately and the launching ceremony is scheduled for October 30th at Maizuru Port in Kyoto. This is a project called "Ship of Seed" ( which sprang from an idea during the "Asatte Asagao Project" that the shape of the seed of the asagao (morning glory) is similar to that of a ship. The project started in Kanazawa in 2007 from turning the seed shape into a ship and floating that ship at sea. This year, we built a real ship in Maizuru which is scheduled to set sail next year.

I am also involved in a workshop called "Tokyo Future Sketch Book (" which is a part of the Tokyo Culture Creation Project. The concept of the workshop is to draw Tokyo's future on a large sketchbook.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Katsuhiko Hibino

Katsuhiko Hibino

Artist/Professor, Department of Inter Media Art, Tokyo University of the Arts
Born 1958 in Gifu. Hibino rose to stardom with his work using cardboard material at the 1983 Japan Graphic Exhibition Grand Prix which he won while still a student at the Tokyo University of the Arts. He continued to expand his scope of artistic expression to physical and linguistic media including stage production, public art, and performance. Hibino exhibited at the 1996 Venice Biennale and has since held countless solo exhibitions in Japan and abroad. Since 2000, he has been producing art through workshops which exploit the perceptive capabilities of the onlooker rather than simply presenting the artist's perspective. Hibino is also a member of the executive committee of the Japan Football Association with a vision to fuse art and sports from a cultural perspective.


List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 6 Kazumi Kurigami

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Photographs that Capture the "Living" Moment

──What are your thoughts on Irving Penn photos?

Kazumi Kurigami (from hereon Kurigami):
Penn's photos communicate "human existence." His photos capture life, the moment, our existence in that place and time, and the fundamental elements of what it means to be alive, which together provide impact to the onlooker. The genre is irrelevant. In the exhibition, there are pictures of fashion, portraits, and decomposing objects but there is a common underlying passion in every one of them. A common vision...the vision of Irving Penn. This is not possible for anybody; it's not something you can just copy.

When pursuing your artistic interests, no matter if it's something strewn on the side of the street, we respond to our physicality, or shall I say our preferences and feel and use these machines called cameras to grasp that sensation through our instincts. This endless cycle defines the life of a photographer. A man's intrigue lies in the time that he lived. The more vigorous the life, the more folds in his story.

──Penn is a great photographer but the photos introduced in this exhibition would not have been born had it not been for Issey Miyake's clothing. Please tell us your thoughts on Miyake.

Kurigami: I first met Issey-san when he was creating clothes in Paris, contemplating how to use a piece of cloth with strict focus on materials. Issey-san's clothing is an embodiment of his spirit and philosophy for form. His ever changing forms speak of his romanticism for creation.

──We've heard that Penn is one of your influences but who are some others? Also, please name photographers that you would recommend to students of photography.

Kurigami: I love Penn's photos because you can look at it every day without ever getting tired and these are the kinds of photos I aspire to take myself. An artist whose works and life I also admire is Robert Frank. Students of photography should expose themselves to as many photographers' works as possible and take as many pictures themselves as well. Lartigue's photos reveal a "way of life" that you would never encounter had you lived an ordinary life.

Human being is a constantly changing creature who is constantly exposed to information. They are influenced by others and I am constantly thrown off too (laugh.) But the key is to trust your eyes, your fingers, and your gut and go with what you think is "good." That is what it means to believe in yourself and unless you have that, you can't create. I am certain that Penn had this unwavering belief himself and I too try to maintain my physical and spiritual well-being. Because I am intent on pressing my shutter button till the day I die (laugh.)

──Please tell us about your future schedule.

My solo exhibition started from October 29th at the Taka Ishii Gallery. The exhibition titled, "Hi to Hone II" is an exhibition of works between 1972 and 2011, taken with the Polaroid SX-70. At the exhibition, 8 Polaroid works from the book are enlarged and printed to 180 x 180cm.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Kazumi Kurigami

Kazumi Kurigami

Born 1936 in Furano, Hokkaido
Main photo collections include, "ALTERNATES", "Oyogu Hito", "Hi to Hone", "Kazumi Kurigami Photographs-Crush", "Possession Yasuyuki Shuto", "NORTHERN", and "Diary 1970-2005."
2008, directed the film, "Gelatin Silver LOVE"
Publishes photo magazine, "CAMEL", scheduled for release almost every season.

"Hi to Hone" 1989/2011

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 5 Keiichiro Hirano

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Photos of a collector that captures the typical essence of people and craftsmen

──I've read somewhere before that you prefer Avedon over Penn.

Keiichiro Hirano (from hereon, Hirano):
Really? Did I really say that (laugh)? It's said that Avedon never acknowledged Penn's talent but I think their talents were those of a completely different realm.
The world of Penn's photos is like that of a collection in terms of "gathering things." My belief is that all photographers are more or less collectors. They accumulate their stock of sceneries and portraits. But, Penn had a particularly strong streak of the collector. The Penn's photos I looked at most were the "Small Trades" series. In this series, he took portraits of the many ordinary craftsmen working inside town. Looking at these portraits made me think of insect specimens, or the firefighters, bakers, and butchers that you find in toy kits. I felt as though the photographer's pleasure was revealed through these photos taken with the same background in the exactly same format but with contents that were all a bit different from the other.

The point that highlights the typical essence of the trade is in the "pose." Penn had his models hold the tools of their trades. Like newspapers, buckets, and milk bottles... It may be difficult to act out the typical essence of a certain trade in front of a camera but with tools in hands, the craftsmen were able to act as they always did. Meanwhile, when looking at portraits of famous figures, you do not see the occupation of the baker, but instead, the personal quality of that individual. Whether it be Cocteau, Miles, or Picasso, you can see the person's soul speaking out from within these photos taken in the same format. They are artists so they can act out their characters...which I think is amazing. Penn's photos convey this brilliantly.

──The same applies in his collaboration with Issey Miyake. He took many photos of clothing against the same white background.

Hirano: That's right. I think that his instinct as a "collector" was also present when taking Issey-san's works. When shooting people working in the city, Penn created a collection of photos that captured the typical image of well-known professions and when shooting artists, he captured their typical expressions. In that sense, when shooting Issey-san's clothes, I imagine it was a completely new experience. I also think it was a very interesting experience for him to take these clothes, one picture at a time, against the same white background. Why? Because these clothes, if they were butterflies for example, they were of a "new species." I think he took this collection with a sense of wonderment.

──Please tell us about your recent work.

Hirano: I began a new novel series on Kodansha's "Morning" magazine. The title is "Kuhaku wo Mitashinasai (Fill in the Blank.)" These words, "fill in the blank" are often seen on surveys and tests. The story unravels with these words as the key. The earthquake disaster has left many people with their loved ones lost or with a large blank space suddenly in their lives. I think that there is this pressure among such people to fill in this blank so that they can get on with their lives. I hope this novel will help us think again about this phrase, "Fill in the blank" including a question as to whether filling in the blank is really the right thing to do or not. I hope you will read it.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Keiichiro Hirano
Photo: Toshiko Kojima

Keiichiro Hirano

Born in Aichi Prefecture in 1975. Graduate of the Law Department of Kyoto University. 1999, his work, "Nisshoku (Eclipse of the Sun)" which appeared on literary magazine, "Shincho" won the 120th Akutagawa Prize. He continued to announce the major novel "Soso (The Funeral)" in 2002 followed by a stream of other works which have been translated in countries worldwide. Other works include "Shitatari ochiru tokei-tachi no Hamon (The Ripple of Dripping Clocks)", "Kekkai (Dam Break)", "Do-n", "Katachi dake no A (Love just with a Form)", and "Monologue (essay collection)", and "Dialogue (collection of interviews.)" Started novel series "Kuuhaku wo Mitashinasai (Fill in the Blank)" on "Morning" as of September 1, 2011.

"Kuuhaku wo Mitashinasai (Fill in the Blank)"

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 4 Vincent W.L. Huang

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Learning from Penn's "still" way of living

──Please tell us about the episode of your visit to Penn's studio.

Vincent W.L. Huang (from hereon "Huang"):
I visited New York in 1995. Assistant to George Holz at the time, I visited Penn's studio out of pure desire to meet this man I admired so much. What surprised me most during our conversation was when he asked, "What can you do for me?" Normally, it's the other way around and you don't demand such things from an assistant. But he may have been seeking in his assistant powers that he did not own himself. At the time, there were six assistants in his studio and a mile long waiting list behind them so I was not able to join, but nonetheless, it was a truly valuable experience.

──You became an assistant to Helmut Newton after this. This must have been completely different from Penn's studio. They must have been very different in character too.

Huang: I did not actually see photo sessions in Penn's studio but Penn, originally a designer, built his composition very carefully and went onto the session only after finalizing a sketch. He also led a very orderly life, waking up at 5 every morning and starting the day with a walk and ending all photo sessions by noon. He did not allow any music in his studio either. Meanwhile, Newton was the exact opposite. When shooting, everything was impromptu and decided on the spot without so much as a sketch. When taking portraits, whereas Penn was a very stoic character who treated his models like objects, Newton, as you know absolutely loved women (laugh). They were very different in these ways as well.

──What did you learn from Penn's photographs?

Huang: I would say the power to observe. I think he had a very Eastern nature about him. He captured poses that were soft and yet, focused with tension running down to the fingertips as if in classical Japanese dance. Penn's photos are mysterious in that they are "still" but forever captivating. I think this is a reflection of his lifestyle and his way of life in general, in how much he maintained his serenity. There is another episode I remember. During a photo sdession of Miles Davis directed by art director, Eiko Ishioka, Miles asked to have his music played while photographing. Penn adamantly refused this request and the air froze. Of course, Ishioka acted as mediator and the photo session continued but this incident got Miles on his bad side and thus, the many different expressions. Penn did not miss this. That's why those photos turned out the way they did and I am amazed by Penn's unyielding stance. I still have a lot of catching up to do but my goal is to get as close to Penn's photographs as possible. That's why I am making effort to lead an orderly life for starters (laugh).

──Please tell us about your recent work.

Huang: My photo collection of the Miss International Beauty Pageant held from October to November last year in China's Sichuan Province. This is a large 350 page collection of the beauty pageant as well as various volunteer activities. An electronic version is also scheduled for release.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)


Vincent W.L. Huang

Born 1958 in Kobe, Japan. Member of Japan Professional Photographers Society Being active in fashion, advertisements, films and image pictures fields as a freelance photographer in Tokyo, New York, Beijing and Shanghai. His fashion photos, portraits of celebrities and flower series works are very admirable. 
After Hanshin Earthquake he moved his work place from NewYork to Japan.

From the Miss International Beauty Pageant

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

Article on IstoÉ Platinum

Exhibition "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" is covered by Brazilian magazine "IstoÉ Platinum".

IstoÉ Platinum
IstoÉ Platinum

Article on THE NEW YORKER website

Exhibition "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" is covered on THE NEW YORKER.

From the original drawings created for the animated film by Michael Crawford
Copyright © 2010 by Michael Crawford

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 3 Naoki Ishikawa

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Dahomey, inspirational pictures that took me to West Africa

──How did you come to know Penn's photos?

I think it was about 5-6 years ago, when I saw Irving Penn's "Dahomey" exhibition directed by Issey Miyake at the Japan Folk Crafts Museum at Komaba Todai-Mae (editor's note: "Dahomey 1967: Photographs by Irving Penn" 2004, The Japan Folk Crafts Museum.) Penn is well-known for his fashion photography but his work is also deeply connected with folklore and cultural anthropology. What connected me with Penn were these photographs he took in the then Republic of Dahomey.
Republic of Dahomey no longer exists and has since been renamed the Republic of Benin. A small country in West Africa, it is also known as the cradle of voodoo where many unique ceremonies and rituals survive to this day. Penn, who traveled to Dahomey on an assignment from French Vogue, took many sophisticated portraits during his stay. Meanwhile, he also left a generous number of non-fashion photos taken as personal work.

──Which of the Dahomey photographs inspired you most?

That would be the Legba photos. Legba is somewhat like a Jizo (Japanese sacred stone statue) and can still be found on street corners and just about everywhere in Benin today. In contrast to the smooth faced Jizo of Japan, Legba faces are smothered with materials including blood of birds and egg yolk. It is a statue with astonishing visual impact and a great presence. The statues are treasured by the local people as tricksters that work both good and evil deeds but they are everything but "lovable" figures. But, I believe greatly in Penn's eyes which sought out the beauty of these statues.
Beauty and ugliness are two sides of the same coin, and these bizarre Legba statues hold a dominating beauty within its ugliness. Legba may be difficult to approach but at the same time, it embraces a sense of fond familiarity. It was an eye-opening photo exhibition for me. Penn took photographs on the frontlines of fashion, but he also unearthed the beauty of statues like Legba, and I can relate very much to his attitude toward the world. I was so inspired by the Legba photos at the exhibition that I even went to the Republic of Benin (laugh.) My photo collection, "VERNACULAR" contains many of the photos I took in Benin, and these are my homage to Mr. Penn.

──Please tell us about your recent work.

"8848", a solo exhibition of new works is on display until October 22 (Sat.) at the SCAI THE BATH HOUSE gallery. The exhibition features pictures taken during a climbing journey up Mt. Everest from late- last March to May. Also, my records of the climb up Mt. Everest have also been made into the book, "For Everest" It would be my honor if you could take a peek at both.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Naoki Ishikawa

Naoki Ishikawa

Born in Tokyo, 1977. Completed PhD from Tokyo University of the Arts.
Participated in the international project "POLE TO POLE" in 2000, and traversed the continents from the North Pole to the South Pole. Reached the tops of highest mountain peaks of the seven continents in 2001. With interests in anthropology and folklore, he works with the theme found in the travel. Won the Newcomer's Award from the Photographic Society of Japan and the Kodansha Publishers Culture Award for Photography "NEW DIMENSION" (AKAAKA) and "POLAR" (Little More) in 2008, and the 30th Ken Domon Prize for Photography "CORONA" (SEIDOSHA) in 2011. Reached the peak of Everest for the second time this spring since ten years, and published "For Everest" (Little More).


List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 2 Hiroyuki Nakano

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Delicate and Powerful Expression like Mincho-tai Font

──What made you a fan of Irving Penn?

I love old Vogue photographs and the first photo collection I ever bought was a collection of Irving Penn photos. I think he is the person that has had the greatest influence on me. Richard Avedon is frequently cited as a photographer of the same generation but personally, whereas Avedon is a powerful and tough Gothic font, Penn has an image of being a delicate and elegant Mincho-tai font. When starting film, I would ask myself, "How can I shoot film like Penn's photos?" I made many attempts but it was nearly impossible to shoot similar cuts (laugh.)

──What is the charm of Penn photographs?

First, his photos have an interesting composition and a powerful impact that you will never forget once seen. Call it his ability to pick out split second moments, call it his determination...even when working with Issey-san, he knows every detail and context of the clothing and takes intense photos with a firm grip on every single point he wants to show. I have heard that Mr. Penn started working with Issey-san when he was around 70 years old and that is very understandable. Mr. Penn had worked on the forefront of photography from an early age and once past 50, his pace of work started slowing down and naturally, the number of photographs. As he entered his later years, he took on a new and interesting challenge. I think Issey-san's clothes had some influence on this decision. Imagine how fun it would be to be presented with such exciting clothing and figuring out how you would shoot them. Looking at their work, I can feel with my skin the joy and excitement that it contained.

──Please tell us about your recent work.

I am participating in the "311 Sendai Short Film Production Project 'Ashita (Tomorrow)'", which is a project of the "Sendai Short Film Festival 2011" to be held at Sendai Mediatheque on the 17th and 18th of September. The project will feature 3 minute 11 second films shot by 40 directors. I thought hard for about three months and finished a piece titled "Ashita (Tomorrow.)" I hope you will come see it.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)

Hiroyuki Nakano

Hiroyuki Nakano

Film director
Known for his musical film expression, Nakano is the mastermind behind many music videos of famous Japanese and international artists. His film, "SF Samurai Fiction" was the Grand Prix winner of the Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival and his short film, "Iron" won the International Young Critics' Award at the Cannes International Film Festival. "The Beautiful Planet" the newest work by Nakano introducing viewers to the beauty of our planet Earth is now on release.

"Ashita (Tomorrow)"

List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

[Movie] Opening Talk by Tyen

Article on

Exhibition "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" is covered on,31542,2093170,00.html
14 September 2011

A Dialogue with Midori Kitamura Part 3

Dialogue Woven through "Sight"

These photo sessions resulted in over 250 photographs. When flipping through the pages of the photo collection, "Irving Penn regards the work of Issey Miyake" (1999, Random House), there is a sense of amazement that all the photographs could have been taken with the same level of emotion.
"When selecting the photographs to show on the large screen during the exhibition, I was once again impressed at how timeless Mr. Penn's work is. For 13 years, the tension remains unchanged as if every single picture was taken at the same sitting."

ISSEY MIYAKE Collection Poster, Autumn/Winter 1996.
Photograph by Irving Penn. Poster design and typography by Ikko Tanaka
Photograph copyright by The Irving Penn Foundation
ISSEY MIYAKE Collection Poster, Spring/Summer 1998.
Photograph by Irving Penn. Poster design and typography by Ikko Tanaka
Photograph copyright by The Irving Penn Foundation
ISSEY MIYAKE Collection Poster, Autumn/Winter 1999.
Photograph by Irving Penn. Poster design and typography by Ikko Tanaka
Photograph copyright by The Irving Penn Foundation

Whether it be fashion, portraits, or still lives, Penn's objective in his work was to transcend the known historical aspects of photography and art and take them to new and creative level. His work for Miyake always projects both a sense of the times and an element of humor lurking beneath it. These photographs were revelatory of the unique character of the artist himself. But more than that, each of the photographs by Irving Penn goes beyond the borders of mere fashion photography; each carries with it a power to somehow endow the model wearing ISSEY MIYAKE with the aura of a new life form that has traveled here from the future.
"Mr. Penn was always waiting with great anticipation for the clothes I'd bring. This is something I felt from across the meeting table. The same can be said for Miyake, who was waiting for the photos on the other side of the ocean. But, since Mr. Penn was a great master in the eyes of Miyake, I'm sure Miyake also had a sense of anxiety that Mr. Penn would not find any clothes he wanted to take. In that sense, I think it was like waiting for test results with a pounding heart."

Every time Miyake looked at the photos delivered from New York. He would be amazed and inspired by the new interpretation and this then turned into the motivating force for his next collection.
"Designers are clear in what they want to express. They put their life on the line at every collection. The works shown there remain in history so misinterpretation of the work would be a horrifying thing. But in Miyake's case, he accepted Mr. Penn's expressions. Probably out of sincere respect. He accepted these new interpretations and used them as seeds for his imagination."

Resonating dialogue that continued solely through "sight." These 250 pictures are in many ways, the fruit of this miracle-like communication. The element that supported the collaboration of these two maestros was the spirit of solidarity on the photo sessions.
"John Sahag, in charge of hair, was a super popular artist but during these sittings, he would just say, "Yes, Mr. Penn" and do everything the way Mr. Penn told him to do. Tyen was also the world's top creative director and photographer who had created the entire color palette for Parfum Christian Dior but on these shoots, he would bring a mountain of makeup all by himself. All of the staff in that studio took on this work as if it were their first. I too, focused on the clothing, shutting out all thoughts of the Paris collection theme. I did not speak one word of what Miyake had said.
Because I knew that Miyake would not be happy if we took something that was similar to the collection. Without knowing it, the three of us were also sharing the silent communication that had been flowing between Mr. Penn and Miyake. We locked in our ego and everybody worked on the same spiritual level. It was a truly special time."

Every staff involved in the photo shoot worked together as one to create Penn's work. For them, this was not labor; it was work.

Though Miyake never once sat in on a photo session, every time he visited New York, he had dinner with Mr. Penn, Kitamura, and Kanai.
"We met many times after completion of this series and every time, Mr. Penn would say, 'Work with Issey was unforgettable' and that it was a time of his life that he would never forget."
In 2009, Irving Penn passed away at age 92. This series, which could not all be released in his lifetime will be shown at this exhibition. Kitamura planned this exhibition in memory of the artist as well as with a feeling that looking at this work again now will allow her to share a special something with many others. As opening day draws near, preparations are approaching the final stretch.

Composition/Text: Cawaii Factory/Tamaki Harada + Mari Nakayama (Creative editors unit)

Part 1 Director's Profile
Part 2 Details of the Photo Sitting
Part 3 Dialogue Woven through "Sight"

A Dialogue with Midori Kitamura Part 2

Details of the Photo Sitting

Irving Penn was born in 1917. His photographs first graced the covers of "VOGUE" in 1943. From then, on he worked at the forefront of fashion, portrait, and still life photos. By the time he started working on the ISSEY MIYAKE photo series, he was 69 years old, an unchallenged master.
"One time, a model who was about to go home after a photo session became distressed because she could not find the shoes that she had worn there. They must have gotten mixed in with the other things. Mr. Penn, who had been closely watching the situation brought out his own sneakers and casually told the model to wear them home. That's the kind of man he was."

There was a demanding schedule for every photo shoot.
After the collection had been shown in Paris, the clothes would return to the Tokyo office. There, Miyake and Kitamura would begin the selection process for pieces to send to New York for the session. "We tried to choose the pieces that would inspire Mr. Penn the most. No matter how beautiful the piece, we did not bring anything whose form was too simple. Although the final selection would only be 3 or 4 pieces, we would send about 40 pieces from which Mr. Penn could choose, all of which were sent to the ISSEY MIYAKE USA office in New York."
Kitamura would then head to New York. Before the meeting with Penn, the clothes would be carefully arranged on racks.

On the day of the meeting, Penn would come to the office at 8:30. Kitamura would show what was prepared. When Penn found one to his liking, she would have a model put it on, so he could see the clothes in motion.
"At these moments, Mr. Penn would say for example, 'Midori, this piece is certainly interesting but could you add more volume to the side?' I'd think, 'Oh no, there's nothing to add but maybe this mini skirt will work' and wrap it on. Then, the piece becomes interesting. Mr. Penn would direct the model to pose in different ways, and then when he found what he was looking for, start drawing a sketch of the clothing as well as the makeup and hair. These sketches will also be on display at the exhibition."
The selection process ended by noon, and the photo shoot would begin at the Penn Studio the next day.
"During those 13 years there were no changes in the core members of the staff, which is a very rare thing: John Sahag did the hair, Tyen did the makeup, Sadie Hall would iron every piece, Jun Kanai, the Miyake Design Studio US representative, was in charge of coordination, and me, styling."
The photo shoot began each morning at 8:30, a break for lunch in between, and ended at 6PM. This continued for about 4 days.

Kitamura says that during the shoot, Penn's studio was silent, allowing neither music nor conversation while he worked.
"It was a kind of silence that if you dropped something, everyone would jump. The only sounds were the directions given by Mr. Penn and the sound of his shutter clicking once in a while. The tension in the air was palpable. Now that I look back on it, it was the same tension we felt as Miyake was preparing for a Paris show."

ISSEY MIYAKE Collection Poster, Spring/Summer 1991.
Photograph by Irving Penn. Poster design and typography by Ikko Tanaka
Photograph copyright by The Irving Penn Foundation
ISSEY MIYAKE Collection Poster, Spring/Summer 1992.
Photograph by Irving Penn. Poster design and typography by Ikko Tanaka
Photograph copyright by The Irving Penn Foundation
ISSEY MIYAKE Collection Poster, Spring/Summer 1994.
Photograph by Irving Penn. Poster design and typography by Ikko Tanaka
Photograph copyright by The Irving Penn Foundation

When asked a question as to whether there were any especially memorable clothes or episodes during those 13 years, Kitamura responded, " none in particular... because she had poured the same amount of energy into each and every one of them. In other words, everything was special. "Personally, I think that rather than simply taking a photo, Mr. Penn first created his own world and captured this on camera. He made everything from the makeup to the hair to the color of the model's skin to his specifications; and completed the world with one piece of clothing. I remember that as the photo sessions advanced, I would start feeling like I was watching opera. It was a continuous feeling of amazement."

Composition/Text: Cawaii Factory/Tamaki Harada + Mari Nakayama (Creative editors unit)

Part 1 Director's Profile
Part 2 Details of the Photo Sitting
Part 3 Dialogue Woven through "Sight"

A Dialogue with Midori Kitamura Part 1

Director's Profile

This exhibition title couldn't be more straightforward.
"Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue".
There is a great deal of meaning contained in this simple title but above all, in the words "Visual Dialogue" ...They carry a certain air, whispering that this is not your ordinary photo exhibition or a clothing exhibition.

Of course, works by renowned photographer, Irving Penn, will be on exhibit. This will be the first time that visitors will have the opportunity to see his works on such a grand scale in Tokyo since the retrospective: "Irving Penn: A Career in Photography" which was held at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography from November 1999 to January 2000. It will also be the first exhibition dedicated to the artist in Tokyo, since his death in 2009. For photography fans, this is a much-awaited opportunity and even for those who drop by without any prior knowledge of Penn or his work, it will without doubt, be a joyous experience.
However, the fundamental purpose of this exhibition is to "focus upon the creativity born through the two artists' visual dialogue". That is why those who understand the meaning of "Visual Dialogue" and those steeped in the knowledge of the unique working relationship between Penn and Miyake will be able to enjoy the exhibition all-the-more.
In this series, and as a highlight of the exhibition, Director Midori Kitamura will share some of the backstories from the Penn sittings and the creation of the exhibition.

But before that, who is Midori Kitamura? We will start with a story on how she came to be the director of this exhibition.

Midori Kitamura is the current President of the MIYAKE DESIGN STUDIO as well as the Creative Director and Producer of products including perfumes and watches. Midori Kitamura joined ISSEY MIYAKE in 1976 as the attaché de press.
"Nowadays, attaché de press is a well-known position in the fashion industry, but back then, nobody in Japan had ever heard of a job where one is responsible for general PR and the advertisement of a brand." Kitamura has been involved in all aspects of Issey Miyake's work, for over 35 years, including accompanying the designer to the Paris collection twice a year, creating promotional materials and videos, and even organizing exhibitions and publishing books.

After the "A-UN" Paris exhibition in 1988, Miyake's work shifted toward creating clothing that was lighter and more functional. However, just prior to that, Miyake met with Irving Penn; it was as if it was the harbinger for change. This was in 1983.
"Miyake, had admired Mr. Penn's work since he was in school, but their first true exchange came when Mr. Penn photographed Miyake's clothing for "VOGUE" magazine. Upon looking at the photo, Miyake was amazed by the fresh perspective, which soon turned into a desire to have Mr. Penn take photos of all his clothing."
Miyake's dream came true. Penn started to photograph the ISSEY MIYAKE Collection beginning with the Spring-Summer collection of 1987.

ISSEY MIYAKE Collection Poster, Spring/Summer 1987.
Photograph by Irving Penn. Poster design and typography by Ikko Tanaka
Photograph copyright by The Irving Penn Foundation
ISSEY MIYAKE Collection Poster, Autumn/Winter 1989.
Photograph by Irving Penn. Poster design and typography by Ikko Tanaka
Photograph copyright by The Irving Penn Foundation
ISSEY MIYAKE Collection Poster, Autumn/Winter 1991.
Photograph by Irving Penn. Poster design and typography by Ikko Tanaka
Photograph copyright by The Irving Penn Foundation

Amazingly, not once in the 13 year period during which Penn photographed his collections, did Miyake visit the studio.
"Miyake followed a self-imposed rule to never be present at a photo sitting. He believed that by staying away, Mr. Penn would have a greater sense of freedom. He entrusted everything to Mr. Penn. It was then decided that I would attend the photo sessions as the stylist."
Similarly, Penn never once attended an ISSEY MIYAKE show. He listened to the descriptions of clothing that Kitamura would then bring to New York. There, he chose the clothes he wanted to photograph.
Kitamura, who knew the clothing intimately, having been present from design to its finished appearance, was placed in a vital position to work with Mr. Penn and translate the clothing through a whole new perspective that would result in a new form. "My job was to show Mr. Penn the possibilities within the clothes and then shape them into that which he wished to capture. Everything was up to me. At first, I was so nervous at these photo sittings that I could barely move."

Composition/Text: Cawaii Factory/Tamaki Harada + Mari Nakayama (Creative editors unit)

Part 1 Director's Profile
Part 2 Details of the Photo Sitting
Part 3 Dialogue Woven through "Sight"

"Irving Penn and Me" vol. 1 Taku Satoh

In celebrating the "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue" exhibition starting September 16, leading creators from all walks of art speak to us of their fascination with Irving Penn photos.

Photographs that Delve into the Essence Up Front

──Please tell us about your connections with Irving Penn photos.

I had seen Irving Penn's photographs here and there, for example, in "The Works of Ikko Tanaka and Issey Miyake", the portrait of Miles Davis, Flowers, and fashion photography, and although every one of these left a lasting memory, they were scattered as separate "dots" in my mind. The first time these dots came together was when establishing 21_21 DESIGN SIGHT during a discussion regarding the types of exhibitions to hold and what kind of themes to feature. It was during this conversation that Issey-san presented me with various documents. This was several years ago.

What I remember most were the photograph of the woman's lips smothered in chocolate and the photograph of bread, salt, and water. When Issey-san showed me those pictures, I was blown away by Mr. Penn's ability to delve into his subjects and the exquisite skill at which he did it.

The chocolate photo is a close-in shot of a woman's lips; a look at this photograph will open your eyes to all of its intrinsic elements. The same can be said for the bread, salt, and water photo. He never shoots from an angle, and instead, he faces his subjects head-on and digs into their essence. It throws various questions to all those who see.

At the time, I was very interested in water and convinced that we could create an exhibition that focused on this very abstract but indispensable element in our daily lives. When looking at Mr. Penn's photos, I am constantly reassured that the things rolling around in our daily lives have in it the possibility to become an exhibition theme if we dig deep enough into their true essence. The experience of learning all this from a single photograph was very exciting.

──You are in charge of graphic design for this exhibition. How does it feel to work with Irving Penn's photographs in your work?

I never thought I would lay out photographs by the great Irving Penn. When Ms. Midori Kitamura, the director of this exhibition asked me to take on the design, the first thought that ran through my head was that Ikko Tanaka is the only person that can add words to Penn's photographs and I also had doubts as to whether I could fulfill such a big role.

The main visual of the flower and Mr. Miyake's clothing in one picture was proposed by Ms. Kitamura. I think this was a very daring challenge only possible by Ms. Kitamura who has worked with Penn and Issey-san over the years. Normally, when handling photographs shot by great masters such as Irving Penn, one would leave the work untouched without any trimming. It would be unthinkable to use a Penn photograph as material to be altered. However, when showing the photos of the flower and clothing in one picture, there was no choice but to add some alterations. Applying work on Penn's photograph, which was one completed piece of work in itself, was a very nerve wrecking experience. But, the honor of such rare opportunity and the chance to focus face-to-face with Penn's photograph, resulted in a visual like none before.

──Lastly, please tell us about your recent work.

A program called "Design-Ah" started on NHK Educational TV starting April and I work on the program together with Yugo Nakamura. The program speaks to children on "what is design" but it has helped us, the creators, also look back and think about its essence.

(interviewer: Keiko Kamijo)


Taku Satoh

Graphic Designer
Graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts, majoring in Design, in 1979; completed graduate course at the same university in 1981. Initially joined Dentsu Inc., then established Taku Satoh Design Office in 1984.
He has dealt with package designs for "Lotte' s XYLITOL Gum," and "MEIJI' s Oishii Gyunyu"; graphic designs for "ISSEY MIYAKE PLEATS PLEASE"; logo, signature and furniture designs for "Musashino Art University Museum & library".
His works is wide ranging, such as director of "21_21 DESIGN SIGHT" and involving in planning and art direction of "Nihongo de Asobo (Let's Play in Japanese)" and general direction of "Design Ah" which are TV programs on NHK educational channel.


List view of "Irving Penn and Me"

Exhibition "Irving Penn and Issey Miyake: Visual Dialogue"

Photo top: Irving Penn. Poppy: Glowing Embers, New York, 1968.
Photo bottom: Flower Pleats (Issey Miyake Design), New York, 1990.
Photographs copyright by The Irving Penn Foundation

Miyake throws silent words to Mr. Penn and Mr. Penn embraces them. The two resonate in superb timing in what is to become communication. This miraculous collaboration will be introduced in the form of an exhibition and I hope that the splendor of this process and that of human creativity will provide inspiration among all those who visit.

Midori Kitamura (Exhibition Director)

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