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Sumiko Kiyooka Petit Tomato: A Photo Collection that Celebrates Life and Nature


Sumiko Kiyooka Petit Tomato: A Photo Collection that Celebrates Life and Nature




If you are looking for a photo book that showcases the beauty and diversity of women, you might want to check out Sumiko Kiyooka Petit Tomato. This is a collection of photographs by Sumiko Kiyooka, a Japanese photographer who was active in the 1960s and 1970s. Kiyooka was known for her portraits of young girls and women, often depicting them in natural settings or with flowers and fruits. She also explored themes of lesbianism, feminism, and utopianism in her works.




photo sumiko kiyooka petit tomato



Who is Sumiko Kiyooka?




Sumiko Kiyooka was born in 1935 in Tokyo, Japan. She studied photography at the Tokyo College of Photography and started her career as a freelance photographer in 1958. She worked for various magazines, newspapers, and publishers, covering topics such as fashion, culture, and social issues. She also published several photo books, such as Shojo Shashin (Girl Photos) in 1968, Shojo Sekai (Girl World) in 1969, and Petit Tomato in 1970.


Kiyooka was one of the few female photographers in Japan at the time, and she faced discrimination and prejudice from the male-dominated industry. She also faced censorship and criticism for her depiction of nudity and sexuality, especially among young girls. However, she did not shy away from expressing her artistic vision and personal views. She was influenced by the women's liberation movement and the sexual revolution that were happening around the world. She also identified as a lesbian and was involved in the lesbian community in Japan.


What is Petit Tomato?




Petit Tomato is a series of photographs that Kiyooka took between 1968 and 1973. The title refers to the small tomatoes that she used as props in some of her photos. The tomatoes symbolize the freshness, sweetness, and innocence of the girls that she photographed. The photos also feature other fruits and flowers, such as apples, grapes, roses, and sunflowers. These elements create a contrast between the natural and the artificial, the organic and the synthetic.


The photos are mostly portraits of girls and women, ranging from children to adults. Some of them are models or actresses that Kiyooka knew or worked with, while others are friends or lovers. The photos show them in various poses and expressions, sometimes smiling, sometimes serious, sometimes playful, sometimes sensual. The photos also capture their different personalities and moods, such as shy, confident, curious, or rebellious.


The photos are not only aesthetic but also political. They challenge the conventional norms and expectations of femininity and sexuality in Japan at the time. They celebrate the beauty and diversity of women's bodies and identities. They also affirm the existence and visibility of lesbians in Japan, who were often marginalized or ignored by the mainstream society.


How to Appreciate Sumiko Kiyooka Petit Tomato?




Sumiko Kiyooka Petit Tomato is not only a photo book, but also a work of art. It invites the viewers to appreciate the beauty and diversity of women, as well as the creativity and vision of the photographer. Here are some tips on how to enjoy and understand this photo collection:


  • Look at the composition and lighting of each photo. Notice how Kiyooka uses different angles, perspectives, and colors to create different effects and moods. For example, some photos are close-ups, while others are wide shots. Some photos are bright and colorful, while others are dark and monochrome.



  • Look at the expressions and gestures of the models. Notice how Kiyooka captures their emotions and personalities. For example, some models are smiling, while others are serious. Some models are looking at the camera, while others are looking away. Some models are posing, while others are candid.



  • Look at the props and backgrounds of each photo. Notice how Kiyooka uses fruits, flowers, and natural settings to create a contrast and a harmony with the models. For example, some photos show the models holding or eating tomatoes, while others show them surrounded by roses or sunflowers. Some photos show the models in urban or indoor environments, while others show them in rural or outdoor scenes.



  • Look at the themes and messages of each photo. Notice how Kiyooka expresses her views on femininity, sexuality, and society. For example, some photos celebrate the beauty and diversity of women's bodies and identities. Some photos affirm the existence and visibility of lesbians in Japan. Some photos challenge the conventional norms and expectations of women in Japan.



Why is Sumiko Kiyooka Petit Tomato Important?




Sumiko Kiyooka Petit Tomato is not only a photo book, but also a historical document. It records and reflects the social and cultural changes that were happening in Japan and around the world in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Here are some reasons why this photo collection is significant:


  • It showcases the talent and courage of Sumiko Kiyooka, one of the few female photographers in Japan at the time. She faced discrimination and prejudice from the male-dominated industry, as well as censorship and criticism for her depiction of nudity and sexuality. She did not compromise her artistic vision and personal views, but instead expressed them boldly and creatively.



  • It contributes to the history and culture of women and lesbians in Japan. It documents and offers a practical guide to contemporary lesbian life in Japan and beyond, including Korea, Vietnam, and Okinawa. It also draws on lesbian history focused on ancient Greece, Japan, and elsewhere to make utopian claims about the future for lesbians in Japan and globally.



  • It inspires and influences other artists and activists who share similar interests and values. It forms part of a lesbian boom in the Japanese media that also included novels, films, magazines, comics, and music that depicted lesbian lives. It also resonates with the women's liberation movement and the sexual revolution that were happening around the world.



Where to Find Sumiko Kiyooka Petit Tomato?




Sumiko Kiyooka Petit Tomato is a rare and valuable photo book that is hard to find nowadays. It was originally published in 1970 by Asahi Sonorama, a Japanese publisher that specialized in photography books. It was part of a series called Sonorama Shashin Sensho (Sonorama Photo Selection), which featured works by various photographers, such as Nobuyoshi Araki, Daido Moriyama, and Shomei Tomatsu.


The photo book is out of print and has not been reissued or translated. It is only available in Japanese and has a limited circulation. It is not sold in most bookstores or online platforms. It is only found in some libraries, museums, or private collections. It is also very expensive and can cost up to thousands of dollars.


However, there are some ways to access and enjoy Sumiko Kiyooka Petit Tomato without buying the original photo book. Here are some suggestions:


  • Look for digital copies or scans of the photo book online. Some websites or blogs may have uploaded images or PDF files of the photo book for free or for a fee. However, be careful of the quality and legality of these sources.



  • Look for exhibitions or events that feature Sumiko Kiyooka's works. Some museums or galleries may have displayed or loaned the photo book or some of its photos as part of their collections or programs. For example, in 2018, the Department of History at Carleton University in Canada hosted a lecture titled "Male Gaze or Lesbian Gaze? The Photos and Writing of Kiyooka Sumiko."



  • Look for other works by Sumiko Kiyooka that are related to Petit Tomato. Some of her other photo books, such as Shojo Shashin (Girl Photos) and Shojo Sekai (Girl World), also contain photos of girls and women that are similar to Petit Tomato. Some of her photos may also be found in magazines, newspapers, or websites that she worked for or contributed to.



How to Support Sumiko Kiyooka and Her Legacy?




Sumiko Kiyooka is a pioneer and a legend in the field of photography and lesbian culture. She has created a remarkable body of work that has inspired and influenced many people. However, she is also a forgotten and neglected figure who has not received enough recognition and appreciation for her contributions. She is currently in her 80s and lives in a nursing home in Japan. She suffers from dementia and has lost most of her memories and abilities.


Therefore, it is important to support Sumiko Kiyooka and her legacy in any way possible. Here are some ways to do so:


  • Learn more about Sumiko Kiyooka and her works. Read books, articles, or blogs that introduce or analyze her life and career. Watch videos or listen to podcasts that feature or interview her or her associates. Share your knowledge and opinions with others who are interested or curious.



  • Appreciate and promote Sumiko Kiyooka's works. Buy or borrow her photo books or other publications if you can. Visit or organize exhibitions or events that showcase her photos or writings. Write reviews or comments on social media or other platforms that express your admiration or feedback.



  • Donate or volunteer for Sumiko Kiyooka's causes. Find out if there are any organizations or groups that support Sumiko Kiyooka's well-being or legacy. For example, there is a crowdfunding campaign called "Save Sumiko Kiyooka" that aims to raise funds for her medical expenses and to preserve her works. You can also join or help out any initiatives that advocate for women's rights, lesbian rights, or artistic freedom in Japan or elsewhere.



Conclusion




Sumiko Kiyooka Petit Tomato is a photo book that deserves more attention and appreciation. It is a work of art that celebrates the beauty and diversity of women, as well as the creativity and vision of the photographer. It is also a work of history that records and reflects the social and cultural changes that were happening in Japan and around the world in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It is also a work of activism that challenges and inspires other artists and activists who share similar interests and values.


If you are interested in photography, women, or lesbianism, you should definitely check out Sumiko Kiyooka Petit Tomato. You will be amazed by the quality and variety of the photos, as well as the stories and messages behind them. You will also learn more about Sumiko Kiyooka, one of the most influential and underrated photographers in Japan. You will also find ways to support her and her legacy, as well as to contribute to the causes that she cared about.


Sumiko Kiyooka Petit Tomato is a photo book that celebrates life and nature. It is a photo book that you will not regret reading. a27c54c0b2


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