Photographer captures side of Japan guiding the monuments

Documentary photographer Chrissy Kouwenhoven Irvine will have an exhibition of her work at the Hot Clay Galley in Nelson. The photographs were taken over a two week trip to Japan in 2019.


Documentary photographer Chrissy Kouwenhoven Irvine will have an exhibition of her operate at the Warm Clay Galley in Nelson. The photographs have been taken above a two 7 days trip to Japan in 2019.

For Tasman-lifted photographer Chrissy Kouwenhoven Irvine, a trip to Japan to see the artworks she experienced researched for decades cast an uncommon a link among herself as an artist and her fantastic-grandfather.

Irvine travelled to Tokyo, Kyoto, Kanazawa, and Osaka for two weeks in 2019 ahead of Covid strike a thirty day period afterwards.

She’d examined Japanese Art Record at Ilam School of Great Arts for five many years, crafting essays and delving into artwork predominantly from the Edo period of time.

“For me, it was just like this adoration and respect for a tradition that was so far absent from New Zealand and from my personal cultural upbringing that built me want to go to Japan,” she explained.

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“When you do artwork record, or if you choose history, you form of get this desperation to go to the nation to see the artwork and the place that it comes from … viewing all that in the flesh intended a whole lot to me.”

It wasn’t right up until right after the vacation that her mom identified the slides that her good-grandfather Alec Ransome Drummond took when he frequented Japan in the 1970s.

Irvine captured this striking image of a car covered in plastic sheeting in a parking garage next to a drinks vending machine in Tokyo.


Irvine captured this putting impression of a automobile included in plastic sheeting in a parking garage future to a beverages vending machine in Tokyo.

The moment she received a probability to have a glance at them, she found some placing similarities, 50 several years apart. They’d both of those photographed the interiors of their accommodations, of Japan’s famed and stunning gardens, but there had been also, the natural way, a whole lot of dissimilarities.

“That was fairly interesting, just to see his check out on it, and in some methods that form of starts to open up the connection that you have, to your fantastic-grandfather, who I have under no circumstances fulfilled.”

In Irvine’s future exhibition, her fantastic-grandfather’s do the job will be projected in the window, which Irvine stated “will appear beautiful” at night time.

Documentary photographers were looking for more of a background view or presenting something that's “not the obvious travel shots”, Irvine said.


Documentary photographers ended up hunting for a lot more of a history watch or presenting one thing that is “not the clear journey shots”, Irvine claimed.

Irvine is effective in medium format movie analogue, so her negatives are a sq. 6cm by 6cm.

The function is a departure from her earlier subject matter subject, which has been “mainly people”, which includes the Herstory undertaking about women’s professions.

Questioned what differentiates her pics from travel images on social media, Irvine reported her operate, as a documentary photographer, was “not about the glamour or about receiving the ideal shot of the appropriate area at the right time”.

“I’m not using photographs of monuments,” she stated. “I’m hunting for what is actually at the rear of the monument, what does the gardener’s get rid of look like?”

Documentary photographers have been seeking for far more of a track record check out or presenting a little something that’s “not the clear travel shots”.

In a perfect metaphor of how Japan’s modernity and traditions collide, after learning hundreds of Edo period photos of Mount Fuji, Irvine observed it once from a shinkansen prepare travelling at 285 kilometres an hour.

“It did not have a great deal snow on it or something like that, but it was a perfectly clear day and it looked absolutely superb that working day,” Irvine reported.

“And I believe for the reason that that minute was so fleeting it produced it variety of a lot more unique.”

Irvine grew up in the Tasman District but currently life in Christchurch.

The exhibition of her pictures from Japan was built doable many thanks to funding from Tui Tuia Finding out Circle – The New Zealand Japan Trade Programme.

  • Passing Fuji operates from December 28 2022 to January 28 2023 at the Very hot Clay Galley, 123 Hardy St, Nelson. The artist will give a communicate at 5:30pm on January 6 2023. See and