- How is Asian photographic documentation and reproduction currently evaluated and classified?
- What is the role of a mediator – curator in the organisation and creation of inventory fonds of memory institutions?
- What is the point of view on this transfer of knowledge resulting from the status of the volatile medium itself?
- What resonance does this transfer of knowledge have in Asian destinations?
- Are period photographs really just souvenir items without any artistic value?
- Who actually were the collectors of these items and for what purpose did they gather them?
International researchers are gathering at our symposium to attempt to answer these questions!
Celio Barreto: The Syasin Makie of Mizuno Hanbeh: Unique Reproductions or Something Else?
In this paper I seek to share a fuller understanding of Meiji-era Yokohama Photographer Mizuno Hanbeh’s gold photographs on lacquer process, the motivation for its invention and its impact in Japan and overseas. The conceptual and physical creation of mizunotypes require that both photography and maki-e techniques adapt to each other to create what the Japan Mail called “…the only invention that stands to Japan’s credit in the field of photography” (vol23, 21 July 1893, p394). Understanding the fullness of Mizuno’s process requires a clear understanding of the maki-e process. To dismiss it is to willingly negate a true assessment of whatever its value may be to photographic histories. The results of my examination of existing specimens in British and Canadian collections and historical research lead me to reframe the mizunotype as a material manifestation indexical of Japan’s modernization and soft-power projection in the second half of the Meiji era.
Mizuno Hanbeh, Untitled, Gold powder on Urushi lacquer, 写真蒔絵, c. 1900, Author’s collection, Copyright 2021
Barreto is a Toronto-based educator, photographic history researcher and Ryerson University’s Film & Photographic Preservation and Collections Management Masters program graduate, professor in the School of English and Liberal Studies at Seneca College of Applied Arts and Technology in Toronto, and a Ph.D, student at De Montfort University’s Photographic History Research Centre in Leicester, U.K.. His research focuses on the reciprocal influences of photographic practices and cultural values in the late Meiji period Japan. In 2016 as FPPCM student collections manager at The Royal Ontario Museum’s Asian Art and Culture collection, Barreto found a rare, unidentified and uncatalogued example of a silver metallic photographic image on a 19th c. Japanese Souvenir Album cover. His material analysis using digital photomicrography and historical research to positively identify and catalog this object was published in Photographica World, in late 2017. Barreto has been elected Programme Director at the Photographic Historical Society of Canada, and since 2018 has been presenting his research at international conferences in Europe, The Middle East and North America, and given several lectures and presentations at historical societies in and outside of Canada.