Hiroyo Kaneko

© Hiroyo Kaneko Hiroyo Kaneko has just been awarded the 2009 Santa Fe Prize for Photography for her series Sentimental Education. The series is a study of her family bathing in Japan's sento (public baths). I was taken with the simplicity and directness of these images, which feel contemplative without being overly lyrical.

It is interesting to see that at least two young Japanese photographers are receiving plaudits for their work around the family (Asashi Masada recently won the excellent Kimura Ihee Award for his 2008 book in which he cleverly reworked the idea of the traditional family portrait). In an age when the institution of the Japanese family is said to be in freefall, it is interesting to see that, in some photographic quarters at least, it is alive and well.