A Half-Century Retrospective of Traveling And Capturing the World - An Exhibition of Hiroji Kubota's Life Work

Possibly for the first time in over 20 years, an exhibition of renowned Magnum photographer Hiroji Kubota’s works is being held in Singapore. Made possible in part by sponsorship from Canon, the exhibition features more than one hundred rare prints of the photographer's iconic images, and will be available for viewing until 16 July 2017. Be sure to check it out.

Hiroji Kubota, Anti-Vietnam War gathering, New York, 1964 © Hiroji Kubota / Magnum Photos

Hiroji Kubota, Anti-Vietnam War gathering, New York, 1964 © Hiroji Kubota / Magnum Photos


Traveling and capturing the world for over 50 years

Hiroji Kubota, Okinawa, Japan, 1969 © Hiroji Kubota / Magnum Photos

Hiroji Kubota, Okinawa, Japan, 1969 © Hiroji Kubota / Magnum Photos


Hiroji Kubota

Renowned Magnum photographer Hiroji Kubota talking about his time working as a freelance photographer in South East Asia.

The exhibition “Hiroji Kubota Photographer” is a comprehensive retrospective of the career of Magnum photographer Hiroji Kubota (b. 1939, Tokyo), who has spent more than 50 years of his life traveling extensively and documenting the world around him.

Kubota joined Magnum Photos, the world's most prestigious agency for photojournalists, in 1965, and became an associate member in 1971 (full member from 1989).

Throughout his travels across the globe, Kubota has captured historic events, such as the Fall of Da Nang, and has dedicated years meticulously documenting culture and everyday life in countries such as China, Burma (now Myanmar), and Japan. Kubota was able to gain rare access to the Hermit Kingdom of North Korea, where in the course of the last 40 years he was allowed to chronicle its regime, its people, and its landscapes. Many of the stunning photographs Kubota captured during his travels working as a freelance photographer are on display as rare historic prints.


An extraordinary opportunity to witness rare historic prints

Hiroji Kubota, Kyaiktiyo, Burma, 1978 © Hiroji Kubota / Magnum Photos

Hiroji Kubota, Kyaiktiyo, Burma, 1978 © Hiroji Kubota / Magnum Photos


An Exhibition of Hiroji Kubota's Life Work

The exhibition features 103 iconic photographs from Hiroji Kubota’s life work, including fifty-four color dye-transfer prints and forty-nine black-and-white platinum prints.

Throughout his career, Hiroji Kubota has had many exhibitions of his work and has subsequently published over 18 books. However, this is most likely the first time selections from his entire body of work are on exhibition. Kubota went through his archive of more than four million photographs, spanning his entire 50-year career as a photographer, and selected for this exhibition forty-nine black-and-white platinum prints from 1961 to 1989 and fifty-four color dye-transfer prints from 1978 to 2003.

The color dye-transfer prints, in particular, are of interest, as the process is impossible to replicate today, in part due to production of materials being discontinued and existing inventories eventually having run out. The main reason for these prints being exceptionally rare, is because of Kubota’s collaboration with master printer Nino Mondhe, who is known for using up to twelve colors, instead of the conventional primary colors of cyan, magenta, and yellow. Dye-transfer prints look like no other type of photograph. There is a richness and depth to each print that is unattainable with any other process.


In session with Hiroji Kubota

Hiroji Kubota, Chongjin, Hamgyongbuk-do, North Korea, 1986 © Hiroji Kubota / Magnum Photos

Hiroji Kubota, Chongjin, Hamgyongbuk-do, North Korea, 1986 © Hiroji Kubota / Magnum Photos


An Exhibition of Hiroji Kubota's Life Work

The audience listening intently to Hiroji Kubota sharing anecdotes from his 50-year career as a photographer

Last Saturday 3 June, Hiroji Kubota himself was present at the gallery, where he held an almost two hour long talk and Q&A session in an intimate setting, which was attended by roughly fifty visitors. During his talk, he shared with his audience highlights of his extensive career, his experiences shooting across Asia, and finally finishing his 40-year project of photographing North Korea last April. At the end of his talk, the audience was given the opportunity to ask Kubota questions. 

When asked if there is any particular subject he still wants to photograph, Kubota answered, "Nothing in particular. I work by intuition and I photograph every day—every single day. I carry a camera everywhere I go, because you never know when you might encounter something, a picture you have to have. I take pictures every day. If I don't, I don't sleep well."


Exhibition details

Do not miss this extraordinary opportunity to witness a selection of rare historic prints of works by one of Magnum Photos’ longest serving members, renowned photographer Hiroji Kubota.

Hiroji Kubota Photographer Exhibition in Singapore
1 June ~ 16 July 2017
Ticket Price: Free

Sundaram Tagore Gallery
5 Lock Road 01-05
Gillman Barracks
Singapore 108933
Tel. +65 6694 3378
Tuesday–Saturday 11 am–7 pm
Sunday 11 am–6 pm
Please note: We close for many public holidays; if you're planning a visit on a holiday, kindly call ahead.
Link to exhibition website


Source: WestLicht Museum, Vienna, Austria


© René Burri/Magnum Photos

Hiroji Kubota
Born in Tokyo in 1939, Kubota graduated from Waseda University School of Political Science and Economics. He began his career by assisting Magnum photographers René Burri, Burt Glinn, and Elliott Erwitt on their visit to Japan in 1961. In 1965 he joined Magnum Photos, producing major bodies of work, many in book form, on the United States, Japan, China, North and South Korea, and Southeast Asia. Kubota has had exhibitions in Tokyo, Osaka, Beijing, New York, Washington, Rome, London, Vienna, Paris and many other cities.



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