Monthly Archives: January 2011

Posted in Ancient World, Antiquities, Publications

Comfort Food the Ancient Greek Way: Zeno of Citium’s Lentil Soup Recipe

Zeno's lentil soup

For her book Meals and Recipes from Ancient Greece, author Eugenia Salza Prina Ricotti had to become something of a food detective. The Greeks didn’t have cookbooks as we do; instead, hints at their cuisine exist in their literature, in… More»

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Posted in Conservation, Getty Conservation Institute

What Do You Mean, “Sustainability and Cultural Heritage”?

Gold Rush-era building in Nevada City, California

When I talk about the importance of sustainability and cultural heritage, most people nod their heads—we’ve all heard the word “sustainable” in terms of the green revolution—but then a second later they usually ask, “Wait, what exactly do you mean?”… More»

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, J. Paul Getty Trust

Supporting Employees Who Serve

Randall Henry at the Getty, in his security officer's uniform

We folks in the Security Department don’t like to call attention to ourselves. We’re happiest when protecting you, and the art, behind the scenes. But we’re too happy about one piece of news to stay quiet: we recently received the… More»

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Posted in Art, Behind the Scenes, Getty Research Institute

J. Paul Getty, The Early Years

Young J. Paul Getty Lying on the Beach, about 1905–1915. J. Paul Getty Family Collected Papers, The Getty Research Institute, 2010.IA.17

What forces shaped J. Paul Getty into the man portrayed in his diaries? The Getty’s Institutional Archives recently acquired a collection that illuminates Getty’s formative years. In addition to many other things, the J. Paul Getty Family Collected Papers (1880s–1989)… More»

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Posted in Education, Getty Center, J. Paul Getty Museum

Learning from the Old Masters at Getty Drawing Hour

Sketch after Frans Hals's painting Saint John the Evangelist from 1625–28

Looking for opportunities to exercise your creativity in 2011? Consider Getty Drawing Hour, a free program that offers a chance to draw from the Old Masters, with lessons—and plenty of encouragement—from a professional artist. I tried it out on a… More»

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      A Chat with Photographer Tomoko Sawada

      A conversation about Japanese matchmaking traditions, self-portraiture, clothes, and identity.

      When did you start photographing yourself?
      I began making self-portraits when I was 19. It was an assignment for a photography class. I can’t even explain in Japanese why I liked them so much. It was instinctual. It’s as if I knew that this was going to be my style, that this is what I wanted to do. And I’m still doing it because I love the self-portrait, but I don’t know why. 

      What themes are you exploring in your work?
      I’m interested in the relationship between inside and outside. If you wear a sexy dress or if you wear kids clothes or casual clothes, people treat you differently. Even though you are you no matter what you wear. It’s that relationship that makes me think. 

      My new work is from when I was living in New York. When I was in New York, people didn’t think I was Japanese. Sometimes they thought I was Korean or Chines or Mongolian. Even Singaporean. It was funny, when I would go to the Japanese market, they would speak to me in English. When I went to the Korean market, they would speak to me in English again. I don’t seem to look Japanese outside of Japan. I was surprised because I think I look totally Japanese. It’s funny that people’s points of view are totally different.

      Could you talk a little about OMIAI, the series that represents a traditional Japanese matchmaking technique.
      OMIAI is a tradition that is somehow still working today. Usually, there is a matchmaker and photographs are exchanged before meeting. If both sides are interested, they can meet for lunch or dinner accompanied by their parents and steps for marriage proceed from there. In the old days, some people chose their marriage partner just through photographs, without even meeting each other. 

      When OMIAI was exhibited in Japan I saw people making various comments in from of the work. People would say things like, “she looks like a good cook; surely she would prepare delicious meals every day,” or “ this girl could be a perfect bride for my son,” or “I can tell she would not be a good housewife,” or “she’s such a graceful girl; she must be the daughter of a decent family.” Comments like that. 

      What was the process of making that work?
      I gained 10 pounds before I started taking the pictures, and in six months I lost forty pounds, because I wanted to look different in each photo. I wanted to change the way my legs looked. 

      Every weekend I went to the hair salon and put on a kimono. Then I went to the photo studio on the street in Japan. I would take a picture and then change my clothes to western dress. Then I would go to the studio again the next weekend. 

      Did you tell the photographer how you wanted it done?
      I told him I was an artist and wanted to make photographs with him. I told him to think that each weekend new girls would show up to make the OMIAI. I didn’t want him to think of me as the same girl who came every weekend. He understood the concept. 

      We had fun. While he was taking pictures, his wife would tell me how to lose weight. She gave me many tips.


      Tomoko Sawada’s work is on view at the Getty until February 21, 2016 in “The Younger Generation: Contemporary Japanese Photography”

      02/11/16

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