I’ve been looking forward to this exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) since I first heard about it. Samurai: Japanese Armor from the Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller Collection.
A friend and I are long-time members of LACMA so whenever a special exhibit comes up we try to go together.
So on Saturday she drove to my house then we took the Culver City bus to the Metro bus which stops right outside the museum. No parking hassles!
Other than what I had seen from the publicity, I really didn’t know what to expect but I suspected it would at least be interesting as I knew little or nothing about the subject… unless you count The Last Samurai with Tom Cruise. A pretty good movie, by the way.
Our tickets were for noon, there was no line, and we were able to go right in.
The first thing you notice is RED. Not just an accent here and there but bright crimson red pervading everything. I knew at once that this, along with the very dim lighting was going to be a photographic challenge.
The ceiling of the Reznick Pavilion during the day usually has natural light flooding through it because of the windows in the saw tooth roof. They were covered in red for this exhibit.
At first I attempted to outsmart the camera’s choices as I wasn’t happy with the images I was seeing. But every setting I made just increased the problems.
So finally I decided to acknowledge the camera’s innate wisdom and I dialed up P (for Program).
Considering the afore-mentioned difficulties plus no flash allowed, no tripod, shooting through protective glass cases and my unsteady hand, I have to give kudos to my Canon T3i for a darn good job. With a little help from Lightroom, of course!
You just have to go to the show yourself to truly appreciate the beauty, intricacy, handiwork and sumptuousness of the costumes. The exhibit is on through February 1, 2015.
From the website:
During the centuries covered by the exhibition, warfare evolved from combat between small bands of equestrian archers to the clash of vast armies of infantry and cavalry equipped with swords, spears, and even matchlock guns. Arms and armor were needed in unprecedented quantities, and craftsmen responded with an astonishingly varied array of armor that was both functional and visually spectacular, a celebration of the warrior’s prowess. Even after 1615, when the Tokugawa military dictatorship brought an end to battle, samurai families continued to commission splendid arms and armor for ceremonial purposes. Because the social rank, income, and prestige of a samurai family were strictly determined by the battlefield valor of their ancestors, armor became ever more sumptuous as the embodiment of an elite warrior family’s heritage.
For more images, click on a photo below to see the slide show.
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