Table Speech

Sending Out Messages from Kyoto to the World – KYOTOGRAPHIE

Sending Out Messages from Kyoto to the World – KYOTOGRAPHIE

Ms. Lucille Reyboz
KYOTOGRAPHIE, Co-Founder & Co-Director,
Kyotographie Inc.

 I was born in France and spent a part of my childhood in Bamako, Republic of Mali, located in West Africa, where my father did some medical research. Then we moved to Catalunya, South of France, where I grew up and started photography as a teenager. I moved to Paris at age 20 and started my career as a photographer for the music industry, including music labels like Blue Note and Verve. I also worked for international press like ELLE, VOGUE and Le Monde, producing documentary stories from around the world.

 In 1999, I had the oppotunity to participate in LIFE, an operate produced by a musician Mr. Ryuichi Sakamoto. This was a life-chaning experience to connect me with Japanese culture, more specifically with Shintoïsme which I found very close to African Animism. I started to visit Japan regularly to deepen my understading and traveled between New York, Paris and Japan for many years until I finally moved to Tokyo in 2007. I worked as a correspondant for French and international magazines and also published a few books, the last one in collaboration with a writer Mr. Keiichiro Hirano.

 In 2011, I decided to move to Kyoto to broaden my experience and connect deeper with Japanese culture. It was no coincidence that I met a lighting artist Mr. Yusuke Nakanishi, who also moved to Kyoto with the desire to start a new project that would generate a positive and constructive impact on the Japanese society.

  We settled in Kyoto five years ago. We cycled around the town, discovered new treasures and our creativity was inspired by the timeless capital. We started to think about creating an international photography festival. Our past professional experience had made us sense that something was missing in the Japanese landscape. Over years, we came to realize the missed opportunity was to appreciate photography on a larger scale. We have long failed to value the power of this fantastic and versatile medium. Putting together our experiences, networks and cultural background, we managed to start this large-scale international event in the ancient capital.

 Being French, I understood the power of art events giving photography a new international dimension. Getting inspiration from festivals and fairs like Rencontres d’Arles, Visa pour l'Images and Paris Photo, we were convinced such events should be held in Japan too. Although Japan is a real country of photography with advanced technology and many world-class photographers, photography wasn't apprecited as much as it should be.

 We decided to name the festival KYOTOGRAPHIE and make it like a journey through time and space, expressing both the historical and contemporary elements of Kyoto which was an ideal venue due to its international appeal and authenticity. We aimed to showcase the talent of Japanese photographers and international artists, thus opening windows to the rest of the world. We planned to stage the artwork in shrines, temples, machiya, teahouses and other iconic locations, going beyond the traditional gallery format, to bring artwork closer to the audience. With the help of professional scenographers and designers, we ensured that the photography and the venues would be complementary to each other. We hoped to engage traditional artisans of the locality to create a sense of owership among the broader spectrum of Kyoto society.