Image © Ahn Sehong.
Last month, Nikon found itself at the centre of a controversy when it closed down a planned exhibition by photographer Ahn Se-hong. Titled Layer by Layer, the exhibition, held at the company's Shinjuku salon in Japan, portrays Korean 'comfort women' who were forced into prostitution during World War II in Japan.
Following complaints, Nikon took the decision to pull down the exhibition, arguing that Ahn's images were too political.
Now, a Japanese judge has found in favour of the photographer and has forced Nikon to honour its contract and reopen the exhibition. While Nikon can still appeal the court ruling, Ahn has been allowed to show his images.
However, Nikon is being accused of preventing journalists from visiting the exhibition. "At first, Nikon told us it will provide the venue, but won't do anything else to help," says Ahn. "However, Nikon is preventing the foreign press from entering the venue and blocking people from taking personal pictures. Not only that, three lawyers from Nikon are following me around everywhere, trying to eavesdrop and record my every move. I'm enduring this for the sake of the visitors, but this is just like the Japanese occupation period. Nikon is trying to find something to pick at so it can shut down our exhibition."
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, a Nikon spokesman said the company would not "do things that would go against the court decision" but would suspend the exhibit if it received a favourable ruling any time before the show's scheduled end on 09 July.
A petition has been launched to support the photography. For more details, visit the I Am Censored website.
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