EVERETT KENNEDY BROWN

Bio

Everett Kennedy Brown is a recipient of the Japanese Government’s Cultural Commissioner’s Award for promoting Japanese culture through his work as a photographic artist and writer of books on cultural theory in Japanese. Originally from Washington D.C. Everett is a 27 year resident of Japan. His work has appeared in National Geographic, GEO, The New York Times, Le Monde, and Kateigaho International among other major international media. His work is featured regularly on NHK and on Japanese television and has been exhibited at the DAVOS World Economic Forum and at museums and galleries in Japan and internationally.

 

Artist Statement

My work focuses on our relationship to time and memory.  In Japan memories of the past are hidden in the landscape. We can feel them when we go to old temples or shrines or step into an ancient forest. These places become doorways to the past.

Five hundred years ago people thought the world was flat, until the Italian physicist Galileo showed us differently.  In our present age most of us believe that time is linear and flows like a straight line from past to present and future. But modern physicists prove that past, present and future actually coexist in different dimensions. A concept that indigenous people around the world have intuitively understood. 

In my artistic work I address the issue of our amnesia regarding time and explore the undercurrents of cultural memory hidden in the Japanese landscape.  All over Japan I seek out places where the past still speaks to us, and record those impressions on handmade negatives.

I use a classical photographic process, using wet plate negatives made and developed on location. I then print the images on hand made Japanese washi paper, using mineral inks. I akin myself more to potter or painter than to a photographer, because I use mineral salts and brushes to create forms on the negative to intentionally interact with the composition of the subject. When the technique is successful there is an elegant interplay of subject and process that exhibits a rare and never before seen chiaroscuro beauty.

My subjects are Japanese people, things and landscapes that have an innate timeless quality. By viewing these images the audience can come to realize that the past is alive in the present and is carrying forward into the future. I want the viewer to realize that deep currents of cultural memory are flowing through our lives. If unseen, we may consider them lost or forgotten, even though they exist below the blinding noise and lights of this post-post modern age. These currents are our lifeblood, they sustain our spirits, as they resonate with the memories encoded into our complex nervous system. 

I choose the island of Yakushima because it is unpolluted by the frenetic energies of modern life. Ancient memories are there hidden in the rocks, trees and mountains. The land is fertile for creative discovery. This is why the Yakushima Photography Festival is a wonderful opportunity to restore our deep perception of time and feel the ancient timeless memories of Earth’s beauty. 

My TEDx Kyoto talk on Time and Memory can be viewed at:

Focusing new light on memory/Everett Kennedy Brown/TEDx Kyoto

EVERETT KENNEDY BROWN
USA / Japan

www.modernclassic.jp

Everett Kennedy Brown Biography

1959 Born in Washington, D.C.

1982 Graduated from Antioch College with major in Foreign Civilizations and Literatures

1982 Traveled to Asia and lived in various countries

1988 Settled in Japan

1999 Established Brown’s Field, a prototypical farm

A photographer working in Japan for the past 25 years, my work has appeared in most major global media, including National Geographic, Geo, Time, Newsweek, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, The Times, New York Times. I’ve been fortunate to travel extensively throughout the Japanese archipelago, with many opportunities to meet uniquely remarkable people and hear their stories. Somehow, doors have opened allowing me to view things rarely accessible to the public eye. In my photography I wish to share these experiences as much as I can.

In recent years, I have often been asked to share my stories and perspectives on Japan. I’m invited to give lectures, appear on television, write essays and books in Japanese and even offer advice on national government policy. On one government panel I summarized my experience of Japan by saying, “Japan is a land of endless discovery” and to my amazement these words were adopted by the Japanese Government as a national slogan.

Exploring the vast literature on the culture of Japan, especially ethnography, is also, for me, a passion. My readings deeply influence the vision that permeates my photography. It’s been my experience that ancient currents of Japanese culture are still accessible if we but open our minds by acquiring the knowledge and developing the skills needed to attune ourselves to these energies. This belief is deeply shared and nurtured by such cultural leaders and friends as Matsuoka Seigo, Kawasae Toshiro, Tezuka Yuji and Raku Kichizaemon.

For me, life in Japan is a long and ever-deepening love affair with place and culture. Through my imagery, honoring the use of Japanese classical techniques and traditional materials, I wish to share my vision of the deep currents of Japanese culture that I encounter in my journeys.

Alongside my photographic and writing activities I established a Japanese farm with my wife, the popular cookbook writer Deco Nakajima. Located one hour east of Tokyo, near the Pacific coast, Brown’s Field (www.brownsfield-jp.com) and the country inn Jiji no Ie (www.jijinoie.com) reflect my vision of an ideal rural Japanese experience.

I am available to lead private cultural and photographic tours of Japan, which can be arranged through Inside Japan Tours. For details, please contact photography@insidejapantours.com

 

Awards and Appointments

International Center for Japanese Culture, Creative Advisor, 2014-present

MEXT Culture Vision Summit member, 2014-present

Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Award for the Promotion of Japanese Culture from the Agency for Cultural Affairs in Japan (within MEXT), 2013

Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) Committee Advisor on Intermediary Plan towards creating a Nation based on Culture and the Arts, 2013-present

IBM Business and Cultural Leaders Council member, 2012-present

Japan Inter-Design Forum member, 2012-present

Keynote Lecturer at Meiji University’s Cool Japan Program, 2010-present

METI Cool Japan Advisory Council member, 2010-2012

Advisor to Forum 21 think tank on cultural development, 2009

Advisor to Japanesque Modern project on national image branding, 2007

M.I.L.K. Photo Competition award, 2001

GEO magazine, Picture of the Year, 2001

Japanese Cabinet Office, Media Relations advisor, 1999

 

Education and Work

Commissioned by MeiPAM Gallery museum to document island culture of Shodoshima, 2014

Commissioned by Sankei-en, to document estate of Meiji industrialist, Hara Sankei, 2013

Commissioned by Takenaka Corporation to document Japanese craftsmanship, 2012

Produced country inn, Jiji no Ie (www.jijinoie.com), 2011

Bureau Chief of European Pressphoto Agency (EPA), 2003-2012

Established Japan bureau of EPA, 2003

Established Brown’s Field farm (http://brownsfield-jp.com), 1999

Began working for Shueisha and Shogakukan publishers, 1990

Began working for Kodansha publishers, 1989

Studied at Guangdong College of Oriental Medicine, China, 1985

Began career as writer and photojournalist, 1982

Graduated Antioch College, B.A. Foreign Civilizations and Literatures, 1982

 

Selected Books and Publications

Magazine feature: Waraku (in Japanese) 2014

Magazine feature: Kateigaho International Edition, 2014

Magazine interview: Art Collectors’ (in Japanese), 2014

Book: Echoes of Tradition, Gallery A4, 2014

Book Translation: Isshin Denshin (Conscious Body, Contagious Mind), Shinjusha, 2013

Book essay: Kenja no Hon (Book of Sages), “Nihon no Mirai no Bunkaryoku,” Sangokan Publishers, 2013

Book photographs for Shintaikankakude Basho wo Yominaosu, (authored by Yasuda Noboru), Shinjyusha Publishers, 2012

Book essay: Matsumaruhonpo, “Boku ga Koishita Honya no Keireki,” Gentosha Publishers, 2012

Book translation: Roots of Japan(s): Unearthing the Cultural Matrix of Japan, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, 2011

Book: Nihonryoku (in Japanese), Parco Publishers, 2010

Book essay: Japanesque Modern, “Ability to read feelings is a special gift,” Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, 2008

Book: Iketeirudakedeinjyanai, (in Japanese), Kindai Eigasha Publishers, 2005

Book: Ganguro Girls, Konemann Publishers, 2001

Essay: Japan Quarterly, Asahi Shimbun, “In Search of the Japanese Spirit of Sport,” 2001

Book: Oretachi no Nippon (in Japanese), Shogakukan Publishers, 1999

Exhibition Catalogue Translation: “Japan Through the Eyes of W. Eugene Smith,” Tokyo Museum of Photography, 1996

 

Selected Solo Exhibitions

Nihon no Takumi, Takenaka Carpentry Tools Museum, Kobe, 2015

Nihon no Omokage, Sankei-en Museum, Yokohama, 2015

Jidai wo Koeru Jyokei, MeiPAM Gallery museum, Shodoshima, 2014

Ichibu no Ichiten, Yamashita Gallery, Tokyo, 2014

Echoes of Tradition, Gallery A4, Tokyo, 2014

Boso, Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan, Tokyo, 2014

Giappone nel Chiostro, Museo Diocesano di Brescia, Italy, 2013

Boso ni Kurashi, Nihon wo Toru, at DENEN Museum, Isumi, Japan, 2012

After the Tsunami, World Economic Forum, Winter Davos, 2012

After the Tsunami Collodions, World Economic Forum, Summer Davos, 2011

Cool, Gallery Concept 21, Tokyo, 2008

Ganguro Girls, Foreign Correspondents’ Club, Tokyo, 2002

The Botanical Garden, Photo Gallery Ississ, Kyoto, 1998

Vivarium, Verso Gallery, Tokyo, 1998

Light in the Garden (part 2), Alpha Gallery, Tokyo, 1997

Light in the Garden (part 1), Alpha Gallery, Tokyo, 1997

Two Botanical Gardens: Jardin Rio de Janeiro and Koishikawa, Polaroid Gallery, 1996

The Inner Garden, Gallery Trax, Yamanashi, 1996

Children of Asia, Shonan International Village, 1995

India, Imagine Gallery, Tokyo, 1994

The Voice of the Forest, Grey Gallery, Tokyo, 1993

The Orient, Palais de France, Tokyo, 1988

Selected Group Exhibitions

Beauty, Sheraton Gallery, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 2008

Ganguro, Spellman College Gallery, Georgia, U.S.A., 2004

Peace Art, Tokyo International Forum, 2003

Polaroid Works 1976-2002, Polaroid Gallery, Tokyo, 2002

Peace Art, Tenri Cultural Institute, New York, 2002

Peace Art, Hiroshima Peace Memorial, 2002

Peace Art, Tokyo Polytechnic University, 2002

Love: A Celebration of Humanity (M.I.L.K.), Sydney Opera House, American Express Viaduct Harbor (Auckland New Zealand), Federation Square (Melbourne, Australia), The Broad Walk (Regents Park, London), 2003

Love: A Celebration of Humanity (M.I.L.K.), Science Museum, London, 2002

Love: A Celebration of Humanity (M.I.L.K.), Vanderbilt Gallery, New York, 2001

Corpus, Fuji Gallery, Tokyo, 1999

Out of Asia, Tokyo City Art Museum, 1994