What We Found in CP+ 2017

By CAPA asia

In Japan’s popular trade fair we discovered a new but old way to enjoy photography

Camera & Photo Imaging Show 2017 (CP+), the biggest trade fair of the camera and photography industries in Japan, took place during February 23rd and 26th in Yokohama, south of Tokyo. This annual event revolves around photography, promoting the joy of shooting, seeing and sharing photos. Although it is more popular among local people than among foreigners, it is worth visiting if you want to find a new way to enjoy photography as well as learning Japanese photography.

Most of the exhibitors were Japanese (but global) manufacturers such as Canon, Nikon, Sony and the like. There were some foreign exhibitors, too, but they are tiny. This is not surprising given the market share of Japanese companies in the camera market. But this is its unique aspect. In Photokina, a German counterpart, only 31% of the exhibitors are local companies. Among them is what is missing in CP+: Leica. This absence, however, makes CP+ distinctive and a bit patriotic: it is committed to disseminate information from Japan. And leading manufacturers proudly unveil their new products there.

Most of the visitors of CP+ are also Japanese. It had 66,665 visitors in total this year. It fell by more than 1,000 from last year. Proportion of foreign visitors is unknown but there seemed to be less of them compared to Photokina, which had 190,669 visitors and 28% of it were foreigners (53,387) in 2016. CP+ may need to consider that if it really wants to lead the camera and imaging industries worldwide.

One of the main features of CP+ is an exhibition called ONAEBA. It aims to connect participating photographers with professionals. As there is no judge or jury, everyone can join it to show their work. This year it took place in BankART studio NYK. We took a free shuttle bus to get there from Pacifico Yokohama, the main site. In the gallery lots of photos were on display. Some were excellent; others were ultra-personal. But the exhibition provides a good opportunity to learn current photography in Japan.

In CP+ you can make discoveries. For us there was a new but old way to enjoy photography awaiting discovery: Fujifilm’s WALL DECOR. It is an online service to make framed photos. You can choose a frame, size, printing paper and the colour of the frame. It also simulates how a framed photo looks like. It is significant because it could make framed photos more accessible to photo lovers in South-East Asia as well as Japan. Using photos for wall decoration is not popular in the region partly because people don’t print photos (instead they share them online today). But “there is need,” says Fujifilm. So the manufacturer launched the new service on January 25th in Japan. Currently it is only available in Japanese, but Fujifilm is eyeing the South-East Asian market: it is planning to introduce it to China this autumn. With this you could enjoy photography more as an artistic expression. Watch this space.

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