K.P.S. (Kyoto Photo Society) was established in the 1920s by Motohiko Goto, a medical student at the Kyoto Imperial University. According to the 1926 publication of ARS Photography Yearbook, the Kyoto Photo Society was established in the 14th year of the Taisho period, 1925, on April 1st. Goto is listed as chairman. Nanyo Matsui, Tosui Kodama and Koton Hayashi are listed as principal members. Their works were introduced in various photography magazines such as Photo Times and Asahi Camera from before the war. Other members included Ryutaro Kono, Yushi Kobayashi, Shunko Kosaka, Mamoru Asanuma, Toyo Okamoto, Tochiji Suhara, Jisaburo Katsura, Kosaburo Okuda, Toshio Takada, Tatsumi Sato and Noboru Ueki.
            After World War II in December of 1947, they resumed activities. From the following year until 1949, they held 5 exhibitions in Osaka and Kyoto which garnered attention. In 1950 they held an exhibition in Tokyo. In an essay written by Ueki for a photography magazine, he states that there were 17 members at the time,[1] 15 of whom were commercial photographers that produced high quality portrait photos. There were also some members who were more avant-garde, working with abstract forms. Kobayashi, Ueki and a few other central members continued to manage the photo studios that they inherited in Kyoto and continued to hone their photographic technique. Kobayashi believed that it was important to have both a high level of technical skill and freedom of expression as an artist. He said, “We are technicians, but we must not forget that we are also artists… The cowardly professional specialist who has repeatedly taken conventional portraits tirelessly for ten years has many opportunities to see hints from amateurs.”[2] Although Ueki and Kobayashi worked in a painting style called “Geijutsu Shashin” (Art Photography) and portrait photography before the war, by the 1930s they had shifted to more avant-garde work. Ueki used a hand coloring technique in his abstract work and Kobayashi specialized in photo montage.
           It is believed that the Kyoto Photo Society came to its end naturally in the 1960s.[3] In 1971, Ueki and Kobayashi were central to the establishment of the Kyoto Photo Artists Association.[4] In addition Ueki established the photography association Niji in 1969.


[1] Ueki, Noboru. “The Flag of K.P.S.” Photography and Technology Volume 15 No. 5 June, 1950 pp. 1–2
[2] Kobayashi, Yushi. “Culture of the Photographer” Photography and Technology Volume 14 No. 2. February, 1949, pp. 9–12
[3] Ishida, Katsuya. Personal Interview of Yoshio Yamaguchi, Member of Photography Club Niji. 7 September, 2019
[4] Ibid

Further readings

Ryuichi Kaneko, “The K.P.S. era”, Noboru Ueki & Yūshi Kobayashi of the K.P.S., MEM, 2019, pp.13–15


Noboru Ueki

Yushi Kobayashi


K・P・S Noboru Ueki + Yūshi Kobayashi
Dates|September 14 – October 6, 2019