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We are delighted to welcome you to the Fall 2011 issue of the Trans-Asia Photography Review, which has been guest edited by Dr. Ayelet Zohar. Dr. Zohar is a dynamic writer and curator with scholarly expertise in contemporary East Asian visual culture. She has chosen the theme of “The Elu[va]sive Portrait: Mimicry, Masquerade and Camouflage” for this issue. Focusing on photographic portraits which challenge the commonly held expectation of a “truthful” rendering, Dr. Zohar has assembled a rich array of articles and curatorial projects.
A theoretical framework for thinking about photographic portraits is established in Zohar’s introductory essay, “The Elu[va]sive Portrait: Conceptual and Theoretical Notes”. This introduction is followed by essays, curatorial projects and an interview which extend the idea of the “elu[va]sive portrait” in many directions. Contemporary photography from Japan is addressed by Zohar herself in an essay on four Japanese photographers (MORIMURA Yasumasa, SAWADA Tomoko, KITANO Ken and TAKAGI Cozue). Contemporary Korean photography is discussed in an essay by Youngsook Choi on three photographers (JoSeub, Sanghee Song and Hwayong Kim) whose work addresses the ironies implicit in the construction of national heroes and heroines. This topic is addressed in a different way in a curatorial project by Jeehey Kim on the work of NOH Suntag. Contemporary Chinese photography is explored in an interview with Beijing-based artist CANG Xin, focusing on his project “Identity Exchange”. Extending the contents of the issue beyond her geographic base in East Asian visual culture, Dr, Zohar has included a curatorial project by Murtaza Vali on contemporary South Asian photographic portraits (including work by Pushpamala N. and Clare Arni, Vivek Vilasini, Anup Mathew Thomas, Gauri Gill, and Bani Abidi), an essay on photographs of foreign visitors to Tibet who don “native costume” by Namiko Kunimoto, and a curatorial project featuring portraits made by Kip Fulbeck of individuals whose “racial heritage” is only partly Asian. And expanding the time frame beyond the contemporary period, she also features a curatorial project, organized by David Hogge, on the 19th century photographs of the Empress Dowager Cixi,. Thanks to the initiatives of Dr. Zohar, this issue of the TAP Review offers a fascinating range of visual and intellectual stimulation, enlarging our awareness of the many kinds of commentary that can be made by photographic portraits.
In addition to this interconnected set of articles and curatorial projects, the Fall 2011 issue of the TAP Review includes, of course, book reviews, an annotated list of new publications by Reviews & Resources Editor Raymond Lum, an updated listing of websites pertaining to photography in Asia, and summaries of scholarly symposia.
And looking to the future, the spring 2012 issue of the TAP Review will include a section on the contributions of women to photography in Asia, and the fall 2012 issue will focus on photographic work, from all parts of Asia, which deals with the after-effects of war. As always, we welcome your input and involvement. Please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With best wishes,
Editor, Trans-Asia Photography Review