Creating and archiving the catalogue of the largest Japanese style painting exhibition

Requiring the highest quality, the H6D-100c was used to create and archive the catalogue for the Inten exhibition, an open call for Japanese style paintings held and run by the Japan Visual Arts Academy (“Nihon Bijutsuin”).

Prime Minister’s Award “The Viewpoints of Gods”(「神々の視座」) by Yasuto Ide (Academy member)
Japan Visual Arts Academy Award (Taikan Award)  “Night Banquet”(「夜宴」)by Yoshihiro Yoshimura

What is the Inten Exhibition?

It is an open call exhibition of Japanese style paintings held and run by the Japan Visual Arts Academy (“Nihon Bijutsuin”) and held twice a year in Spring and Autumn. It is the largest among the exhibitions for Japanese style paintings, receiving about 800 works for the Spring Exhibition (also called “Spring Inten”) and about 500 for the Fall Exhibition (“Revival Inten”).

Japan Visual Arts Academy, which holds and runs the Inten Exhibition, is a research organization founded in 1898 by Tenshin Okakura together with Gaho Hashimoto, Taikan Yokoyama, Shunso Hishida and Kanzan Shimomura, as an indicator of the preservation and development of Japanese arts in the new era. The Fall Exhibition started in 1914, when Japan Visual Arts Academy was resurrected, and will reach its 107th anniversary in 2021.

Japan Visual Arts Academy Award (Taikan Award) “Night Stroll”(「夜行<やぎょう>」) by Chiharu Kinoshita (exemption of examination)

Using the Hasselblad H6D-100c to shoot the winning works for the exhibition catalogue, what do you pay attention to during the shooting?

Other than shooting for the Inten Exhibition catalogue, Hasselblad H6D-100c is used to shoot for the archives of winning pieces. The total number of those works can be about 250 to 300. What we pay the most attention to while shooting the winning art pieces is the light source. Considering colour can look different depending on the light source, we try our best to adjust the colors of strobe lights and the display which show the captured images to make them appear as close to the colour of sun light, a standard colour, as possible. Doing this, we can maintain the consistent colour environment until the printing stage and work using the reproduced colours which are closest to the original.

In the actual shooting, we use X-Rite’s ColorChecker to check if the colors are accurately taken as data under the light source of the shooting environment. Hasselblad’s image processing software Phocus has a function to automatically recognize ColorChecker in a captured image and optimize the colours in the data.

Once the adjustment and settings are set for an image, Phocus saves and uses them for the next shot in real time while shooting. This is advantageous to our workflow, which involves a large amount of shooting, such as for exhibition catalogues and archives.

In the actual catalogue shooting, we follow this ColorChecker as a standard and use Reproduction Mode in Phocus. In Reproduction Mode, you can shoot while maintaining the correlation between each colour based on the ColorChecker data. Therefore, even in the shooting like the one for the artwork archive, where the works need to be captured exactly as they are, you can still reproduce the artwork without losing its original colour.

In this way, the information of the subject is thoroughly and accurately captured, and based on this, we create the basic data for editing to show what the artist wanted to express.

Encouragement Award “Miserere”(「ミゼレーレ」)by Shinji Okada

What is the advantage of using Hasselblad for shooting artwork?

We edit based on the aforementioned data when the output size is small like an exhibition catalogue, or when the colour gamut narrows down because the colour gamut at the printing stage is different from the one in the monitor, making a slight change to the impression of the artwork. It is a great advantage that RAW data captured with Hasselblad’s medium format sensor is highly resistant to image correction, and together with Hasselblad’s unique colour space which is used at the processing stage in Phocus, it rarely has deterioration such as color change or tone jumping after the correction.

In addition, Phocus is able to connect to EIZO monitors with a built-in sensor and automatically sets the colour tone optimised for the Hasselblad colour space, enabling a one-stop setting even in a shooting scenario like this with high demands on how the colours should look.

A live view function in Phocus is also an advantage as you can adjust the focus on a big monitor when shooting an object whose surface is difficult to focus on, like a painting.

Thus, a strong advantage to using a Hasselblad camera is that it is not only a medium format digital camera with high resolution, but it also supports the workflow of niche shooting scenarios such as photographing for archival work.

Encouragement Award “Prophetic Blessing of Hare”(「白兎予祝<はくとよしゅく>」)by Mao Kawasaki (exemption of examination)

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