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Release | Fumiko Magota

“Maeda Shinzo photo gallery Takushinkan” exhibits colorful photographs of Biei

35 minutes drive from Furano and 15 minutes from JR Biei Station. “Maeda Shinzo photo gallery Takushinkan” celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2017. At the gallery, you can feel the beauty of hills in Biei with colors of each season through photographs.


美瑛の拓真館の看板
 

The father of “Hilly Town of Biei”

The gallery, which is located solely in the middle of multiple hills, exhibits pictures of hills in Biei by the renowned landscape photographer Maeda Shinzo.

The gallery uses the building of ex-elementary school and photographs are exhibited in ex-gymnasium. They are displayed separately by seasons. Take off your shoes at the entrance and enter the gallery. The exhibitions start from spring, then summer, then autumn, and the second floor is winter. This is a unique place where the scenery around the gallery is gathered as photographs. 


美瑛の拓真館の春の写真

The opportunity for Biei as being known as “Hilly Town” was Maeda Shinzo. He found the attraction and presented as photographs. 

One of the opportunities was the potato chips package. In 1970’s, the picture of white flowers and yellow hat house taken by Maeda was used in the package. This product presented image of Biei to many people. 


美瑛の拓真館の冬の写真

There are about 60 photographs exhibited, and some of them depict sceneries which can’t be seen now. For people who know Biei in the past, those pieces may be nostalgic. 

 

Maeda Shinzo was generous and kind

The three representative pieces of Biei Hill series are displayed in an exceptionally large panel. 

“Bakushu Senretsu (Wheat in autumn leave the vivid impression)” shows red wheat as if it is burning. “Yuyake No Tou (A tower in dusk)” pictures dramatic sky and a tower. “Asagiri No Oka (Hills in morning mist)” is a picture of hills in golden mist lighted by the morning sun. 


美瑛の前田真三写真ギャラリー 拓真館の麦秋鮮烈など▲The picture above is the three pieces. In the clock-wise: “Bakushu Senretsu (Wheat in autumn leave the vivid impression), “Yuyake No Tou (A tower in dusk)”, “Asagiri No Oka (Hills in morning mist)”. The man in front of the photographs is Otani.


All photographs have vivid impressions. However, the manager of the gallery Otani told us, “All the pictures have not retouched. Those are colors as it were when he took the picture.” 

“Maeda told us when he was alive that the scenery seen with actual eyes is the best. He was particular about capturing the moment he encountered as it was. “


前田真三写真ギャラリー拓真館のフロント

Also, when he went to take pictures at farms, he always asked the farmers in advance and asked for permission. But still, Maeda felt sorry about entering farms which farmers put effort on. Even though there are things he wanted to capture, he used all means, such as using different lenses, to avoid entering farms.

“Maeda was really generous and kind.” Otani looked back. 


写真家前田真三さんが生前使っていたカメラ▲There are actual cameras which Maeda used. 


In fact, the gallery is free entry. That is because Maeda’s attitude was more like “visitors come to see my pieces” rather than “I show them my works”. This episode tells us Maeda’s generous personalities. 

 

Enjoy the nature around the gallery

In their 0.3 hectares property, there are not only the gallery but also white birch forests and lavender farms. From spring to autumn, flowers and forests get colorful. 


前田真三写真ギャラリー拓真館の花畑▲(Photo provided by Maeda Shinzo photo gallery Takushinkan)


On the other hand, winter becomes all white. The type of snow in Biei is called aspirin snow, which is so light that when it fly when it is blown. 

Shadows of hills are pictured clearly on the snow field, and it colors to beautiful blue and purple. You can enjoy that kind of -10 to -20 degrees world. 

Enjoy the seasonally beautiful natural sceneries and photographs and relax. 


前田真三写真ギャラリー拓真館の外観▲“Maeda Shinzo photo gallery Takushinkan” in early November, when Biei just started to get snow. 
  • “Maeda Shinzo photo gallery Takushinkan” exhibits colorful photographs of Biei

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Fumiko Magota

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