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Japanese photographer Komatsu Hiroko enlists UHart students to help stage a massive immersive work – Connecticut Public

Photography

Japanese photographer Komatsu Hiroko’s work is big.

So big, that to develop film on this scale, photography students at the University of Hartford recently had to bring in a horse trough to submerge the photographic paper.

“Because she was saying the roll of paper should usually float in the fixer, and there wasn’t enough,” said Nicholas DeLeo, a photography student at UHart.

Carrie Cushman, Director and Curator of UHart’s Joseloff Gallery, said students started working at 9 a.m. that day and, “it’s 3 o’clock now. We’re close to being able to wash the photographs, so I think we have another two hours ahead of us to get it all set up to dry.”

Greg Miller

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Connecticut Public

Photography students from the Hartford Art School wash a huge 100 foot print by Japanese photographer, Komatsu Hiroko, in one of the art school’s darkrooms. Hiroko, enlisted the help of photography students to help her expose and process the huge print on Oct. 21, 2022.

The final product is 18 black and white photographs, developed on a single, 50-foot roll of photographic paper.

The photographs reflect Komatsu’s obsession with materials from either construction or demolition sites in Tokyo and are part of an exhibit she’ll have running at UHart through Dec. 10.

Greg Miller

/

Connecticut Public

Photography students from the Hartford Art School wash and roll up a huge 100 foot print by Japanese photographer, Komatsu Hiroko, in one of the art school’s darkrooms.

Komatsu lives in Tokyo, a metropolis that is in a constant flux of urban development. Industrial sites are ubiquitous there, and Komatsu is fascinated with the materials that are either recovered from a demolition site, or are part of new construction.

“I see the materials used in the industrial district – it’s very hard to tell what it is used for, or what it will become,” Komatsu said, through an interpreter. “It is also very hard to tell whether it’s in the process of making something, or it’s in the process of demolishing something.”

Greg Miller

/

Connecticut Public

Japanese photographer, Komatsu Hiroko, outside the Joseloff Gallery at the Hartford Art School in October.

Another trademark of Komatsu’s work is its scale.

She covers almost the entire exhibition space with the rolls of photographs – not just the walls, but on the floor, and draping over wire hangers as well.

Carrie Cushman said the effect can be overwhelming.

“It’s a full body experience,” Cushman said. “Typically, when you go to a photography exhibit you see individual photographs in frames hanging on the walls. It’s impossible to focus on the images in her show. You’re trying to look, and the …….

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