Kensuke Kazama

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Yubari, the work that won Kazama the Society of Photography Award and the PSJ newcomer's award in 2006.

Kensuke Kazama (風間 健介 Kazama Kensuke?, born 18 September 1960) is a Japanese photographer who for many years lived in and photographed the one-time mining town of Yūbari, Hokkaidō.

Born in Mie Prefecture, Kazama moved to Tokyo in 1978. He held exhibitions in Tokyo two years later. In 1987 he moved to Nanporo in Hokkaidō, and two years later to Yūbari.

Kazama's photographs of the town of Yūbari and its abandoned mines and mining paraphernalia are in black and white, and employ a medium-format camera for detail and small aperture for great depth of field,[1] often allied with a formal composition. Mitsugu Ōnishi points out that the results "run counter to the ruins photography trend".[2] From 1994 his photographs of Yūbari appeared in the magazines Nippon Camera and Asahi Camera; he also participated regularly in Higashikawa Photofesta.

Kazama won the 18th Higashikawa Special Prize in 2002 and (for his book Yūbari) the PSJ newcomer's award and the 18th Society of Photography Award in 2006.[3]

In March 2006, Kazama moved to Mitaka, Tokyo.[4] His subsequent photographs of nearby Inokashira Park, which employ the same techniques as his photographs of Yūbari, have been published.[5]

Kazama later moved to Sayama (Saitama), where in 2010 he was working more with photograms, mounting both food specimens and potato crisps lightly edited to resemble faces in a specially constructed negative carrier and enlarging from this.[6]

Books by Kazama[edit]

  • Live. Self-published, 1980.
  • Sorachi tankō isan sanpo (そらち炭鉱遺産散歩, Walks in the remains of the coalmines of Sorachi). Sapporo: Kyōdō Bunkasha, 2003. ISBN 4-87739-088-X. Kazama contributes the photographs.
  • Kazama Kensuke shashinshū: Yūbari (風間健介写真集:夕張) / Kensuke Kazama Photographic Collection: Yubari. Sapporo: Jyuryousya, 2005. ISBN 4-902269-14-7. All text and captions in both Japanese and English.


  1. ^ Takao Kajiwara, "Captivated by the beauty of collapse"; in Kazama, Yubari, 183.
  2. ^ Mitsugu Onishi, "A steady gaze exposes reality to the light"; in Kazama, Yubari, 181.
  3. ^ PSJ, a list of past PSJ award-winners; accessed 6 March 2006; (Japanese) Society of Photography Award; accessed 4 April 2007.
  4. ^ Ichii, 102.
  5. ^ "Kaze o utsushita machi: Inokashira Kōen" (風を映した街:井の頭公園), Asahi Camera, September 2007, pp. 65–70. (These and other photographs are also displayed on Kazama's site.)
  6. ^ Yasunobu Ichii (市井康延), "Anshitsu no naka de no ichigo-ichie" (暗室の中での一期一会), Nippon Camera, May 2010, pp. 78–79. (Japanese)

Sources and external links[edit]

  • Kazama's site
  • (Japanese) a site about Kazama
  • "Minna shashin yaranaika," a fan's page about Kazama
  • (Japanese) Ichii Yasunobu (市井康延). "Monokuro o yaru ningen niwa anshitsu ga hitsuyō" (モノクロをやる人間には暗室が必要, People who do black and white need a darkroom). Shashin Kōgyō (写真工業), May 2007, pp. 102–103. An article about Kazama's Mitaka home/darkroom.