so it’s more of a visual thing than a lengthy-esoteric-discussion thing, but i’ve been most intrigued by the effect that the institute of design (and, more precisely, its golden-era mentors) have had on the aesthetics of early post-war japanese photographers. i know that yasuhiro ishimoto was studying with siskind and callahan during the heyday, and took his artistic armory back with him to japan, but i’ve just loved looking at the following homages made in respectful nods to callahan by nobuyoshi araki and masahisa fukase (i was certain there was a furuya one, but i think i was just hoping it existed):

the original:

eleanor, chicago, 1949

and those who wish to treat the matter through their own filters:

yoko araki, undated

yoko fukase, izu, 1973

in the introductory essay to anne wilkes tucker’s encylopedic tome the history of japanese photography, the author asserts that araki and fukase both became known to the japanese because they were the first to show the “intimate homelife and personal emotional state of their subjects.” as i read more and more about the environment from which contemporary japanese photographers emerged, i see (though as a westerner cannot fully comprehend) more and more how this work must have come as a shock to the viewing public. i also can’t help but meditate upon how, in absorbing eastern men reinterpret the tones of callahan’s portrait of his wife, they show something else of themselves, of the woman in front of them, and of east contemplating west. it’s amazing and a little humbling to consider just how revolutionary something so simple as an unguarded moment of one’s wife, captured on film, could revolutionize how an entire generation of photographers began to see, and it’s something i’ve loved thinking about ever since i came across these photographs.

3 thoughts on “correspondences

  1. Thankyou for writing this, I love Japanese photography esp the weight it seems to have, like the picture contain the physicality of their depictions, esp in the m ore realist and sublime style (not so much the japanese pop photography)

  2. i love this post – thank you. i was startled when i first saw the original photograph, because when i was fourteen (disregarding the idea that drawing from photographs is a no-no) i made an obsessively detailed drawing of this photo without really knowing anything about it. i am pretty sure i found it in a magazine. it’s good to get an expanded perspective on it after all these years!

  3. Pingback: One Thing Done Two Ways: Elijah Gowin and James Luckett on Making a Book | the space in between

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