Osamu James Nakagawa

The Cycle of Life in Osamu James Nakagawa’s Photography by Claude Cookman

Most of us keep thoughts of mortality, especially our own, at arm’s length. Death can wait for another day. Watching the decline and death of a beloved parent, however, has a way of concentrating our attention on our common fate. But what if that death is balanced with the ultimate affirmation of life? The birth of an infant — the genesis of a new generation?

Throughout his career, Indiana University artist-educator James Osama Nakagawa has captured profound life changes in his photography. | Courtesy photo Throughout his career, Indiana University artist-educator James Osama Nakagawa has captured profound life changes in his photography. | Courtesy photo In 1998, shortly after learning his father had terminal cancer, Osamu James Nakagawa and his wife, Tomoko, welcomed their daughter into the world. Nakagawa, who grew up in Tokyo and Houston, always felt suspended between two cultures. He used photography to buffer himself against a nagging sense of not belonging. At the age of 36, he faced a different suspension, wrenched apart by death and life, grief and joy, past and future...

Read more

Kai: Following the Cycle of Life by Coralie Kraft

When he snapped the image that later made it into The New York Times and caught the eye of Anne Tucker, curator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Osamu James Nakagawa had no idea that he was beginning a series that he would continue to add to for decades. Primarily known as a digital photographer at the time, Nakagawa was used to thinking of “straight photography” as material for his larger digital compositions, not individual works in their own right. Stuck in the swirling eddies of a personal tragedy—one of those disconcerting periods of life in which your world is collapsing in around you while everyone else keeps moving forward—he picked up his film camera as a channel for relief...

Read more

Japan’s Mysterious and Beautiful Caves by Jordan G. Teicher

For generations, the limestone caves of Okinawa, Japan, were used as places of worship and burial. During the Battle of Okinawa, they became bunkers, bases, and hospitals for Japanese soldiers, and, tragically, the site of countless deaths. Today, it’s a place where history and loss reside.

Japanese-American photographer Osamu James Nakagawa went to Okinawa for the first time in 2001. After having a profound experience at the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum, he began thinking about how to explore Okinawa’s past through photography...

Read more

“Gama Caves” Photos by Osamu James Nakagawa at sepiaEYE by Daniel Gauss

Inspired by a report that atrocities from the Battle of Okinawa may be edited out of Japanese history text books, Nakagawa decided to visit and photograph the Gama Caves there. These were caves where thousands of native Okinawans died during the battle in April of 1945, in which the US launched one of the largest amphibious landings of the war, preceded by one of the most brutal bombardments...

Read more

オサム・ジェームス中川展:沖縄ーオキナワーOKINAWA by 林田 新

近代以降、過去を理解可能なものとして再構成し、記憶するための「知」を担ってきたのは歴史学であった。それは過去の出来事を、もっぱら筋書きを持った物語としてき。。。 Read full PDF

Osamu James Nakagawa: The Banta Cliffs by Dani Cattan

As we all stood there listening to Osamu James Nakagawa describe the horrid yet intriguing description of the Battle of Okinawa, with his Banta series behind him, I couldn’t help but visualize the families jumping to their death from these jagged, steep and intricate cliffs. If I stared hard enough I could even begin to see their faces’ developing in Nakagawa’s incredibly razor sharp archival inkjet prints.

Osamu James Nakagawa’s series, Banta, is currently at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the exhibition, After Photoshop: Manipulated Photography in the Digital Age, on view through May 27th, 2013 and a subsection of a larger exhibition, Faking It: Manipulated Photography before Photoshop. I had the privilege to partake in a walking tour of the exhibit with Nakagawa himself, along with his New York representative, Esa Epstein from Sepia Eye, amongst others...

Read more