“Biei - a town of hills - Landscape and Photography International Forum" that was the first attempt at Biei Town, Hokkaido successfully ended on May 14th. Thank you very much for your participating in the forum and for checking this special website. We hope you could enjoy the event.
"Biei - a town of hills - Landscape and Photography International Forum" has started hoping to reach out many people someday in the future as if farmers plant rice seeding one by one.
We launched this website with the aim of being a "window" which enables you to watch the growth of this event from anywhere in the world. And we will deliver photos of the exhibition at "bi.yell" which is a hub-like presence of event venues scattered throughout the city taken by the 360 camera "RICOH THETA".
Post from RICOH THETA. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
At the opening ceremony which gathered about 250 visitors including photographers from inside and outside of the country along with the Biei town people, a powerful drumming "Shirokane Taiko" was performed and Haruo KIKUCHI`s photos were projected against the backdrop of the piano performance by Yukiko ISOMURA, which was very effective to have all of us pause to realize how beautiful Biei town is.
An American artist Mr. Everett Brown who has been involved in the project to introduce Japanese culture to the world gave a talk with the subject "International Potential of Biei, Landscape and Photography Culture". In the talk, he explained that he have tried to preserve the culture, scenes and people of the Meiji era by classic glass plate collodion photography methods and talked about the feeling he got when he visited the hills of Biei that "There is a history of cultivating wayless wilderness and cutting the farmland, so now there is the scenery. That fact makes me remember the hardship and strong pioneering spirits that the people of that time had". And also he said that "History exists not only in the past but in the present and in the future as well. There are histories of myself and my family members, and the history of the region. With this forum as a start, I would like to suggest that how we all can make use of the pioneering spirits lurking inside of ourselves?" And said that “how photographers, farmers, administrators, and above all Biei town local people can make a future history of the town.” adding in the context of future potential of Biei town where he himself did in fact look around.
Next, a panel discussion entitled "Whom the landscape belong to ?" was held. In the beginning, the coordinator of the event Ms. Miki ASO from Kyushu University lead the discussions and said that "Many people visit Biei twon for the purpose of shooting of the agricultural landscape, but there have been problems for a while such as unlawful trespassing into private agricultural lands as well as bad traffic manners which are left unsolved in spite of a lot of efforts including enlightening activities and patrols made by tourism office of the town." Following her opening talk, guests panelists, photographers Mr. Kazutoshi YOSHIMURA (Photographer), Mr. Haruo KIKUCHI (Photopgrapher), Mr. Toshihiro MURAKAMI (Local farmer), Mr. Nakayama NAKAYAMA (SVP of Tourism Association) participated in the discussions and shared the fact that Biei is basically an agricultural arena where happen to become a popular tourist spot and then exchanged opnions from people in various position on whether there is a similar problem both inside and outside of the country and what kind of effective manners we can possibly take.
One panelist said that "No such case has been reported as photographing manners become a serious social problem in the world. If Biei was a town where can appeal entirely as a tourist spot, the problem would be solved, but Biei is definitely not the case, and for this reason the town is very attractive and impressive. And other pannelist said that "It is important to let tourists know the reasons of a ban against entering farmland because it is required to keep high quality of agricultural products produced by diligent local farmers, and also important to have a thorough discussion between agriculture and tourism sector sharing the same goal to inherit the beautiful landscape to future generations and keep moving forward step by step." Ms. Aso concluded that “It would be a good beginning for all the panelists who have different backgrounds to have stated their own opinions from different viewpoints. It is very important to share the information from each other`s point of view and to positively exchange opinions without worrying alone, which will give us the feeling that everything is improving in a right direction.“.