Gallery Kiyooka Sumiko 1998: A Retrospective of a Pioneering Lesbian Photographer
Gallery Kiyooka Sumiko 1998 is a collection of photographs by Sumiko Kiyooka, a Japanese photographer who was one of the first to document and celebrate lesbian lives in Japan and abroad. The book, published in 1998, features images from Kiyooka's previous works, such as Lesbian Love (1968), Lesbian World (1970), and Lesbian Journey (1973), as well as new photographs taken in the 1990s.
Kiyooka was born in 1921 and started her career as a journalist and writer. She became interested in photography after meeting her partner, Sachiko, who was a photographer herself. Together, they traveled to various countries, such as Korea, Vietnam, and Okinawa, and captured the lives and cultures of women there. Kiyooka also explored lesbian history and literature, drawing inspiration from ancient Greece, Japan, and other places. She used her camera and pen to express her vision of a lesbian utopia, where women could live freely and happily.
Gallery Kiyooka Sumiko 1998 is a tribute to Kiyooka's legacy and influence as a lesbian photographer. Her images are candid, intimate, and diverse, showing the beauty and strength of women's love and friendship. The book also includes essays by Kiyooka herself and other scholars and critics who reflect on her work and its significance for lesbian culture and history.
One of the highlights of Gallery Kiyooka Sumiko 1998 is the section titled Lesbian Love, which reproduces Kiyooka's first and most controversial book. Published in 1968, Lesbian Love was a groundbreaking work that openly depicted lesbian relationships and sexuality in Japan. The book featured photographs of Kiyooka and Sachiko, as well as other lesbian couples, in various settings and poses. Some of the images were erotic and provocative, while others were tender and romantic. The book also included Kiyooka's essays and poems, which expressed her feelings and thoughts about being a lesbian in a conservative society.
Lesbian Love caused a sensation when it was released, attracting both praise and criticism. Some hailed it as a courageous and artistic statement, while others condemned it as immoral and obscene. The book was banned in some places and faced legal challenges in others. Kiyooka herself received threats and harassment from some people who opposed her work. Despite the difficulties, Kiyooka continued to pursue her passion and published more books on lesbian themes, such as Lesbian World (1970), which explored lesbian communities and cultures around the world, and Lesbian Journey (1973), which chronicled her travels and experiences with Sachiko.
Gallery Kiyooka Sumiko 1998 also showcases Kiyooka's later works, which reflect her artistic development and social engagement. In the 1980s and 1990s, Kiyooka experimented with different styles and techniques, such as collage, montage, and digital manipulation. She also participated in various exhibitions and events, such as the Tokyo Lesbian and Gay Parade and the Women's Photo Festival. She used her photography as a tool to raise awareness and support for lesbian rights and issues, such as domestic violence, AIDS, and discrimination. She also collaborated with other lesbian artists and activists, such as Miki Sawada, Yoko Arisaka, and Chizuko Ueno.
The book concludes with a tribute to Kiyooka's partner, Sachiko, who passed away in 1997. Kiyooka dedicated Gallery Kiyooka Sumiko 1998 to Sachiko, who was not only her lover but also her muse and companion. The book includes some of the last photographs that Kiyooka took of Sachiko, as well as a poem that expresses her grief and gratitude. The book is a testament to their enduring love and partnership, which inspired and enriched Kiyooka's life and work. 061ffe29dd