Awards, Exhibitions

Leading Japanese photographer Daisuke Yokota wins Foam Paul Huf Award 2016

All images © Daisuke Yokota, courtesy G/P Gallery and Foam

Japanese photographer Daisuke Yokota, one of the rising stars of the international photography scene, and the leading name in a new generation of Japanese artists, has been chosen as the winner of the tenth Foam Paul Huf Award. 

Daisuke Yokota, 32, from Saitama, north of Tokyo, in Japan, has a long, meticulous and demanding approach to photography, the kind of work only an obsessive would embark on.

Yokota, who is represented by Japanese gallery G/P, is at the vanguard of a new movement of Japanese experimental photographers.

He shoots on a compact digital camera, before printing and rephotographing the images on medium-format film. He then prints and reprints, again and again, but this time using heat and light, or applying acid or naked flames to the end results. In the process, the images become distorted, warped, otherworldly.

From the video Out of Air by Broken Twin Untitled 2013 C Daisuke Yokota Courtesy GP Gallery 1

This process results in one-off prints and unique books, often published using unexpected materials. Yokota has made for a name for himself at photography festivals by staging these book-making sessions, in what amounts to public performances of photo publishing.

Yokota has produced several acclaimed photobooks in this way, including Linger and Vertigo, each of which sold out over the course of the festivals in which they were launched, and are now invariably hard to find and expensive to buy.

“I really did not expect this news, so I could not sleep well last night from all the excitement. In the early days, when I started following the international photography-related news, I got to know this award,” Yokota says.

From the series Taratine Untitled 2015 C Daisuke Yokota courtesy GP Gallery 2

 

“It has always been one of my goals to be part of it, so I am very pleased and honoured. I would like to take this opportunity to further develop my work and career.”

Speaking to American Photomag, Yokota said of his work: “When you’re going to sleep, you think about the stuff that happened to you that day, right? You might see some images, but they’re completely distant from what really happened—they’re hazy.

“You’re trying to recall something, and photography can also recall things in this way. Of course my photographs do function as some sort of record, but there’s no agreement between the photograph and my own recollection of what happened.

From the video Out of Air by Broken Twin Untitled 2013 C Daisuke Yokota Courtesy GP Gallery 2

“The impression is completely different. I think using these effects of delay, reverb, and echo might be a way to alter the sensation of time in a visual way.”

The annual prize, given to a photography talent under 35 years, consists of €20,000 and an exhibition in Foam Amsterdam.

The jury chose Yokota from a pool of 97 nominated photographers, from 29 countries worldwide.

From the series Taratine Untitled 2015 C Daisuke Yokota courtesy GP Gallery 3

Tate London photography director and chairman of the jury Simon Baker said of Yokota’s work: “Daisuke Yokota is one of the most innovative and experimental young photographers working in the world today.

“The jury were unanimous in their decision that he win the 2016 Foam Paul Huf Award, in recognition of his complex, sophisticated practice.

“Yokota has established a formidable reputation as a young artist who has the ability to take photography forward into ever more original directions; from prints, to artist’s books, installations, and collaborative performance, and always with a distinctive and unmistakable visual language.”

From the series Taratine Untitled 2015 C Daisuke Yokota courtesy GP Gallery 4

Director of Foam, Marloes Krijnen, on the Foam Paul Huf Award: “This year marks the tenth edition of the prize, a milestone we are very proud of.

“Since 2007, the list of winners has grown to include important names in photography, and the work has proven to be of continuous high quality, making the announcement of the winner a highly anticipated moment for the international photography community. It is fantastic we can now add Daisuke Yokota to this list.”

More information available here. See more of Yokota’s work here.