John L. Tran

For John L. Tran's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

Hiroshi Sugimoto: On the Beach

Jan 24, 2015

Hiroshi Sugimoto: On the Beach

Hiroshi Sugimoto’s photography is mesmerizing partly because of its other-worldly perfection — his black-and-white prints are flawless. On its own, however, this isn’t enough to justify the significance of his work in the contemporary art scene. His deadpan images of animal dioramas, waxwork figures ...

Keeping up with the shifting world

Jan 8, 2015

Keeping up with the shifting world

Designers can be an ambitious bunch, hoping to lead us all into a better, color-coordinated, minimalist future. “The Fab Mind” aims to show off attempts “to understand and to resolve social issues through design’,” based upon the earth-shattering notions that the world is in ...

The man who turned his modernist home into an art museum

Dec 18, 2014

The man who turned his modernist home into an art museum

It’s not all roses being the director of an independent art museum, but for Toshio Hara, the human interaction of the art world is still a more attractive prospect than that of being a businessman. In 1979 he turned the family seat — a ...

Still photography that will always remain moving

Dec 11, 2014

Still photography that will always remain moving

In the late 1950s, after having studied law and while pursuing a masters degree in art history, Ikko Narahara took two series of images that depicted groups of people at the extreme edges of society. One was of a woman’s prison in Wakayama Prefecture ...

Singing to quite a different tune

Nov 13, 2014

Singing to quite a different tune

In the sense that “The Sound of Music” is not considered a reliable source for lessons about Nazism or that “My Fair Lady” is a profound analysis of class struggle, musicals do not generally spring to mind when considering the great achievements of French ...

Looking back to 1964 as Japan envisions 2020

Oct 30, 2014

Looking back to 1964 as Japan envisions 2020

“In Yedo, nothing is so common as to hear the citizens lament the times that have only just come to an end.” So ran one editorial of “The Far East,” an English-language periodical published in Japan in the 1870s. A contemporary echo of this ...

Lee Mingwei likes getting to know you

Oct 23, 2014

Lee Mingwei likes getting to know you

The secret to a good public relations interview? Switch on the voice recorder and ask questions — that is all you need to know. Except, of course, it’s not. Usually the interviewee has a particular image to maintain and the interviewer is looking for ...

Gronsky's detached fascination

Oct 9, 2014

Gronsky's detached fascination

Alexander Gronsky is slightly surprised at his own success. Standing outside the warehouse building that is hosting a joint reception for several artists, including Thomas Ruff, he chain smokes a couple of cigarettes while we chat about doing photography during a typhoon, and how ...

Nothing goes out of fashion quite like the future

Oct 2, 2014

Nothing goes out of fashion quite like the future

Vincent Fournier’s exhibition at the Diesel Art Gallery shows a love and fascination with technology, but it is not a straightforward adoration. The French photographer combines this with an impish sense of humor and also brings a sociologist’s view to his subjects, which are ...

Between darkness and light

Sep 4, 2014

Between darkness and light

In the days just after the Great East Japan Earthquake, photographers, videographers and the mass media were, quite understandably, not that welcome inside the disaster zone. As time went on and survivors faced the task of dealing with the aftermath, contact with the outside ...