I cannot claim any credit for finding the work of Masayuki Nakaya. I was looing at the "serious" photographs shown on the walls of the Yokohama Photo Festival. Little Bird was waiting patiently, flicking through some of the portfolios laid out in the side room.
When we talked about our favourite works of the festival She pointed to Nakaya's portfolio, which was more of a scrapbook of photographs of his life with his cats and his wife in a little Tokyo apartment.
His work very charming, humorous and human. At Zen Foto we show so much serious photography, much of it in the categories of Black and white, Japanese and Male - there is much great work That fits this description, but it can get rather heavy.
I try to have a balance of styles, with colour, Chinese artists as well as the mainstay classical black and white by Japanese artists. Nakaya's work is colour, humorous, light.
His work lifts us up, is cheerful. Many artists feel that they have to deliver a message, whichis deep, introspective, challenges our preconceptions, and inevitably producing a feeLing of weight and seriousness.
Nakaya reminds us that life is to be lived and enjoyed, that we want to be happy even if we live in a grotty little apartment and cannot afford fine furnishings. His photographs are a joyful celebration.
I thought from the outset that his work would work well in a book. So we tried to keep the feeling of his scrapbook portfolio when we produced his book.
Doing an exhibition of cat photographs is also quite a risk for a gallery. How can a serious gallery devote an exhibition and a book to cats? I ask you!
"Nekopathy" by Masayuki Nakaya, Exhibition at Zen Foto 10 Sep - 13 Oct 2011