From Stone Age sculpture to contemporary architecture, 6,500 years of art from the collections of the Getty Museum and the Getty Research Institute

Also posted in Photographs, Film, and Video

Are India’s Elephants Blessed Creatures or Indentured Servants?

Elephant blesses priest in Jambukeswarar Temple. Thiruvanaikaval, Tamuil Nadu, India.  © Annette Bonnier
Elephant blesses priest in Jambukeswarar Temple. Thiruvanaikaval, Tamuil Nadu, India. © Annette Bonnier

Photographer Annette Bonnier captures the world surrounding the lives of Asian elephants in Indian society. More»

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Posted in Art

Getty-Inspired Holiday Gifts For All Your Favorite People

Dot scarf from the Getty Store

Offbeat and affordable art-inspired holiday gifts. More»

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Also posted in J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books

Star Wars and Medieval Manuscripts

A Star Wars-inspired tour of celestial images in our manuscripts collection. More»

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Also posted in #GettyInspired, Getty Center, Paintings

What’s the Best Way to Learn Painting? Just Start!

by Dinuk Magammana

Inspired by master paintings seen at the Getty, self-taught artist Dinuk Magammana began painting from imagination. More»

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Also posted in Behind the Scenes

Getty Salad Garden: Victoria Fu


Visions of art, visions of salad. More»

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Also posted in J. Paul Getty Museum, Prints and Drawings

A Double-Sided Drawing Brings a Baron to Life

Detail of face of Portrait of Charles Benjamin de Langes de Montmirail, Baron de Lubieres / Liotard
Pastel on the verso (back) of the drawing is visible in the baron's skin tones

The hidden artistry of an 18th-century pastel. More»

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Also posted in #GettyInspired, Paintings

Talking Art and Whimsical Angst with Painter Jenny Doh

In-studio portrait of Jenny Doh
In-studio portrait of Jenny Doh

Artist Jenny Doh talks on the happy + sad things that inspire her work. More»

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Also posted in Exhibitions and Installations, Miscellaneous, Photographs, Film, and Video

Ansel Adams Captures the Struggle and Beauty of a Japanese-American Internment Camp

Entrance / Adams
Entrance to Manzanar, 1943, Ansel Adams. Gelatin silver print (printed 1984). Private collection; courtesy of Photographic Traveling Exhibitions

Ansel Adams photographs document life at the Manzanar internment camp during World War II. More»

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Also posted in Education, J. Paul Getty Museum

Extending Learning Outside the Classroom: Daring Greatly with Self-Portraiture

Community Photoworks photo by Gracie Globerman
By Gracie Globerman

L.A. 10th graders explore self-expression through photography and writing More»

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Also posted in J. Paul Getty Museum, Manuscripts and Books, Miscellaneous

Noodles Fit for the Mother of God

Detail of Joseph cooking in a Renaissance manuscript

A food historian recreates a dish that Mother Mary may have been served. 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”


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