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Eerily supercharged landscapes – that’s how judge Kobo Abe describes Kanendo Watanabe’s photos in the book “Les rues deja vues.” The book, which was published in 1980, gave Watanabe the 7th Ihei Kimura award – something which immediately catapulted him to fame.
Spontaneous – that’s how Watanabe works. With his Minolta twin-lens reflex camera in tow, Watanabe roams around different areas – with no destination in mind. He walks, sometimes for as long as 30 kilometers, and captures any image, destination, or scene that captures his imagination.
Perfectionist – that’s what Watanabe is inside the dark room. He never settles for second best – he has to come up with the best picture image before he releases his masterpiece to the public. His usual snapshots depict water surfaces, city landscapes, and the environment – subjects which are common, but if you look the photos captured through Watanabe’s lenses – something special spruces up from the pictures.
Watanabe’s images give you a sense of humanity – even if you don’t find a single soul in the portrait. How Watanabe enlivens a common image is his strongest suit. His ‘pure photographs,’ describes Yoshitomo Kajikawa, director of the Kyoto Museum of Contemporary art – are what make Watanabe an important persona in the world of photography.