current

Zen Foto Gallery is pleased to present “Tokyo Silver Paradise”, an exhibition of works by John Sypal from January 13th to February 10th, 2023. This is our second solo presentation of his works, since his previous exhibition 4 years ago, featuring 30 silver gelatin photographs selected from his photobook published by Zen Foto in October 2022 under the same title. Following his previous book “Zuisha” published by Zen Foto in 2017, “Tokyo Silver Paradise” also features Sypal’s snapshots taken in Tokyo, a place that never ceases to amaze him. During this exhibition, we will hold two gallery talks by the artist, one in Japanese on Saturday, January 21st and one in English on Saturday, January 28th, both starting from 3 pm.

“Tokyo, as I experience and understand it, begins in its traditional Edo-era downtown shitamachi heart and radiates outwards as a warren of dense backstreets crossed by larger roads and railways, and is punctuated with sites of demolition and construction. Cradled by the Arakawa river along its northern and eastern edges, this Tokyo extends westward to just past Shinjuku station, the outskirts of the old city. Most of the pictures in this book were taken within this area.

This book’s Japanese title, Gin’en, is comprised of the characters gin 銀 (silver) and en 園 (park/paradise). This describes my feelings for the city and at the same time is a homonym for “silver gelatin print”. The darkroom is another sort of paradise — one a soft, glowing red. Here time stands still and in the dark, as I peer through the focuser into the film grain I meet again those moments and people and feelings which compelled me to first snap the shutter. Through silver and chemistry, I bring them back into the world as prints. The silver gelatin print, such a beautiful medium, is both the basis of my understanding of photography and my eternal attraction to it.”
— John Sypal

Artist Profile

John SYPAL

Born in Nebraska, USA in 1979. After graduating from the University of Nebraska he moved to Japan in 2004 and began exhibiting his photography in 2005. His main exhibitions include “Nebraska, The Good Life” (Nikon Salon, 2005), “The Difference Between” (Konica Minolta Plaza, 2007), “Gaijin Like Me” (Nikon Salon, 2008), “195” (Kaido Ribbon, 2010), “John Sypal Photographs” (Yokohama Sogo Leica Shop, 2015), and “An Endless Attraction” (Leica Tokyo, 2022). In 2010 he joined Totem Pole Photo Gallery, where he has been exhibiting his ongoing Zuisha series since 2012. From 2008 he began Tokyo Camera Style, through which he shares Japanese photographic culture online. The ongoing project was compiled and published as a photobook by Thames & Hudson in 2015.

Publications & Prints