Tucked in on a small street between Asakusa’s famous Sensoji Temple and the restaurant supply district of Kappabashi sits a small second story photo gallery/rental darkroom space called Pippo.
Pippo was established in 2009 by photographer Itaru Hirama who in his statement of purpose says:
Photo shops, which were once places for lovers photography to meet and interact are disappearing due to the pursuit of “cheap and quick” .
Because we want the next generation to enjoy film based photography in this digital photographic age we’ve made this space for people to be able to experience the origin of the medium.
Photography is the art of relationships.
Precisely because of this era Pippo exists as a place to connect people together through photography.
As you ascend the stairs up into the small gallery you are met with the unmistakeable and delightful smell of photo chemicals. Pippo has both a communal black and white darkroom with a snazzy disco ball and one fully furnished single color darkroom with a color processor. All information on their rates and rules is in Japanese on their site- any reservations should be made in advance and in Japanese as well.
The space is quite cozy and shares a similar vibe with the other artist-run spaces over in Shinjuku. In accordance with their mission Pippo is a place for photographers to gather- whether it is darkroom workshops, photo classes, exhibitions, and even photobook viewing lectures. You can see a short video on such an event there in the gallery on youtube here. More event & workshop pictures can be seen on the staff blog.
The ease of digital transmission of pictures online has certainly provided countless benefits to people around the world but there is a richness felt when the communal aspect of photography is experienced in person. It’s good to see places like Pippo facilitate this. Check them out the next time you are in Asakusa.
Official site: Pippo Camera
Open: Daily, 11am to 8pm (Closed Thursdays)
Where: MAP / Google Streetview