Monday, April 11, 2011

Recommendation: 'Shadows of a Fleeting World' exhibit (Henry Art)

by Nat  S.

If you’re a Garden docent looking over the list of “Participating Reciprocal Admissions Organizations” for National Volunteer Week, which started yesterday, or to anyone reading this:

I would highly recommend going to Henry Art Gallery to see the exhibit “Shadows of a Fleeting World: Pictorial Photography and Seattle Camera Club”. (It ends May 8th; general website:

I’d wanted to see this exhibit since first hearing about it several months ago.  What would a group of photographers in the early 20th century choose to capture on film here, what influenced their aesthetic choices, etc.?   Like several of you, I take photographs, and I always find it fascinating to see what others choose to pull into a frame, what moments become suspended in time.

These 100+ photographic images are rich, painterly, contemplative compositions (ah, those gelatin silver prints!), with influences from both the East and West.  Most of the works are by Japanese and Japanese-American photographers of the Seattle Camera Club.

Among the photographers whose works you’ll see are Dr. Kyo Koike, Frank Kunishige, Iwao Matsushita, Ella McBride, Virna Haffler, Miss Y. Inagi, Hideo Onishi, Soichi Sunami, Yasuzo Nojima and Yukio Morinaga.  (The club included women---unusual for the times.  Look for the female photographer whose work only survives as 2 prints in a book of photography displayed in a case at the exhibit.)

I’m grateful that these photographs are preserved for us to experience. Taking time to view them recalibrates the eye, and deepens the moments that I'm behind a lens.

P.S. 4/12 from aleks: Today it's a 50th anniversary of the first human being to journey into outer space: on April 12, 1961 Yuri Gagarin in his Vostok spacecraft completed an orbit of the Earth. Here, courtesy of NASA, a little music gift  complementing the spirit of Nat's post about our fleeting world:


  1. hey, fellow guides: the volunteer week is over, but is there any interest in a group going to the exhibition maybe? like whoever can, let's meet next wednesday, april 27th at 1 pm at Henry? or any other date.. i'm going to call and find out if somebody can guide us, perhaps. Mary Ann W.'s husband is a docent there, and i'll ask him, too - in the past he gave a splendid tour to Monzie and me, just for asking:)

    please, chime in here on the topic.

  2. i finally went to see the exhibit and it's indeed splendid, very rich and very pacific northwest - it's a joy to see the place we now live in, preserved through the eyes of photographers then (some 80 years ago) - it's a bit as if sharing our worlds thanks to their work.

    i was also surprised how 'japanese' at the same time some of the photographs seemed to me - in the choice of arrangements, patterns and moods; remarked to a friend that i just don't get how one gets the the constellation of clouds over seattle looking so much like a japanese block print - he smiled and said: you just wait long enough...

    there is a table of christmas postcards which members of different camera clubs all over the world sent to each other back there - i enjoyed looking at them coming from so many different parts of the globe and noticed the french ones included much more female nudity than others - some things never change :).