Photography lovers gather for activities
The support group "doughnuts" is comprised of members selected via an application process open to the general public. There are about 35 members participating. "The members have a variety of different types of occupations and ages range from 20s to 60s, but it is a gathering of people who all support the RING CUBE concept and really love photographs," said Ayana Sakaguchi, a RING CUBE operations staff person from the Personal MultiMedia Products Company Planning Office. Over the past year, doughnuts members have been involved in a wide range of activities, including the planning of goods sold at the gallery, the submission of ideas for workshops, the experiments done in Jikken Labo, etc.
"Doughnuts is an adult version of the activity clubs found in Japanese schools," said member Kazuhisa Inaba. "It is not a job, and it is not something we have to work so hard at, but even realizing that, in no time at all we find ourselves totally involved," he added laughing. This is an interesting group of people who are always throwing ideas back and forth: "Well, we could do this." "Yes, but what about doing that?" Everyone has such a good time...
"Even on days when doughnuts are not meeting, I tend to casually stop by at RING CUBE," said Inaba, whose own favorite camera is a GX100. Glittering on its strap is a Ricohflex pin created based on an idea submitted by Inaba himself.
"The pins are one of the goods that doughnuts members have created based on the idea that they can serve as a kind of commemorative item for people visiting the gallery. The other goods available include hand towels and camera cases," said Sakaguchi. There are three types of pins: GR DIGITAL and the Ricoh film cameras Auto Half and Ricohflex. They are quite popular with customers.
Reason for the creations of hand towels
Now let's present an episode for those of you who wonder, "Why hand towels in this day and age?" A number of years ago, a person who was using the "Hamamatsu chusen" traditional dying method to dye cloth sent a letter to Ricoh saying, "The paper stencils used for dying are disappearing year by year. These patterns are part of Japanese tradition, and I would like to preserve them by photographing the paper stencils used in their creation. Do you have a good camera for this?" At that time, we visited the facility where the dying is actually done. The camera that they chose to use was the GR DIGITAL.
The Ricoh staff were very impressed by the dying facility and the paper stencils, and when RING CUBE opened, we thought "Let's sell hand towels dyed with the "Hamamatsu chusen" traditional dying method as special RING CUBE products. We got in touch with the person who had contacted us originally and had hand towels dyed with themes of GR DIGITAL, Ricohflex, and RING CUBE designs.
Doughnuts also participate in planning exhibitions
"The doughnuts group has been active for about one year now, and with the 16th exhibition "OVERSEAS," they have begun participating in the planning of exhibition display methods," said Sakaguchi. After considerable study of exhibition displays, doughnuts members made their debut on November 18, 2009.
"Over the past year, we have greatly expanded our ties with both photographers and camera fans. I want to keep on expanding those ties," said RING CUBE operation leader Masanori Hashimoto, who is greatly encouraged by the activities of doughnuts members. "The Ginza district of Tokyo attracts many tourists from both Japan and abroad. I want to spread the news that there is a unique photo gallery here."
"People come from abroad to see our photo contest exhibition, and we exhibit the works of foreign photographers in the gallery. I want to include activities with a global perspective, and I think it would be great if the message 'There is RING CUBE gallery in Ginza, Tokyo' were to spread around the world by world-of-mouth," said Hashimoto. We hope that everyone will visit RING CUBE to see the works of a wide range of photographers and to experience Ricoh photo culture.