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Enter the Darkroom


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Names at the Exhibition Photog 05/03/2020 (Sun) 05:18:16 No.14
Let's look into some of the famous, and not so famous, photographers' works to get some inspiration, ideas or entertainment by looking at some of their pictures in small dumps. Also serves as a way to force myself into enjoying this hobby without a camera. Anything goes as long as you like it enough to expose it, in my case i will post some of them once in a while in a constant format.
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I'm going to start, usually i will post 24 pix but sometimes with some dudes i will post 12, due to scarcity of available portfolio or because i probably only liked certain items a lot, maybe sometimes i will throw 50 but let's see. Issei Suda was a japanese dude born in Tokyo around 1940, a rough era for sure, he graduated from his local college's photography course at 22 and landed a steady job 5 years later. After a while he became a well-known freelancer photographer for popular magazines and later on became a university teacher at Osaka. He died in 2019 and my introduction to him was his obituary, he isn't that famous nor an avant garde pioneer but his style is very tasty for me, eerie and peaceful at times. He's often compared as a Daidō Moriyama copycat but this doesn't hold much water as he is at the very least a contemporary, not to say he started 2 to 3 years before; what is true is that Suda jumped into the Nobuyoshi Araki's S&M bandwagon in the late 80's. He also had a good chunk of work in color but i haven't found many of them and looking for photography book rips is like finding the necronomicon, most of the times you have to buy them... and they aren't any cheap, not to mention scanning them means busting the book open. His publishing style, from what i can hear for other sources, was his detailed descriptions of the shots or subjects which were mostly his actor/performer friends and local folk festivals, but very often he just took a walk around small neighborhoods and shot at things he liked... pretty simple state of affairs. He used a medium format camera so i guess he didn't walk that much to be fair. Last month a publisher released a book of Issei's work he had found while lurking around his office but couldn't send or catalogue due to his death, the house kept the deal and gathered some photos from his golden era (1970's to early 80's) so let's hope that one gets a look outside. Suda at least didn't go unnoticed and won several awards in life, including some prestigious ones like the Ken Domon award, yet his name isn't that much mentioned so here's to him.
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The Goat one seems to be famous as he was asked about it a couple of times. Story says he was walking down a road and saw a goat strapped and almost hanged from a tree, fighting frenetically for its life. Suda, being an asian, took his camera and started taking pictures. When asked if he helped the animal, he said he felt bad while shooting but that his original idea was trying to help him after the takes, but in the last photo (shown here) the goat in its last breaths cut the rope and after resting briefly slipped away into the darkness. Pretty dramatic because it didn't look that bad in the pic (he's clean after all) but a nice story anyways, the elephant image does reflect more drama to be honest but i don't know which book it is from, not to say if it got translated to begin with.
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Water sports and Koi fish First and last pics come from Sparrow Island, must be famous as i've seen it a couple of times and even in a Nintendo ad long time ago.
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And that's that, i don't recall which publication are the last 3 from but it's something about windowlicking and general shop fronts, pretty cool. There's supposedly also one in which he went around a downtown with a spy camera on his jacket and shot tons of stuff, but can't find many pics nor affirm they are from that book. Interesting guy, it does bring to my attention collecting those books must be a pain.
Super interesting thread, I'm loving his style, but I think some of his pictures are a bit too dark, but I adore most of them. It's really interesting to look at photography's past and see what photographers innovated or even just took really good pictures. I'm not a photographic history buff, but you tell their story and describe their pictures in the most interesting way. It's kinda like reading a personal journal about photography. Keep up the quality posting anon!
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>>25 >some of his pictures are a bit too dark The Japanese photographers, at least in their golden era (60's-70's) were very well known for their pretty intense chiaroscuro, although Suda went gnarly with it like in Pic 04, but in Pic 14 that effect made the water almost invisible making the Koi seem to be flying. >I'm not a photographic history buff Me neither but we are going to basically learn at the same time so worry not. Although i'm familiar with the general movements and eras i really don't know much, if anything at all, about the details and names. I was making some lists, mainly one for the japanese which i only know 4 or 5 guys, along with checking really quick some of their pictures to somewhat prioritize which fellas will come out first. And apart from the pretty basic obligatory names in the mainstream western scene i think we have material to make 4 or 5 of these threads, it's just a heap ton of info. But you can be confident we will be visually "initiated" by the end of the year. Post by post, made over every other day, will fill these up i'm sure it's not like there's many photos available in good quality anyways
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>>19 Here's a few more from Issei from his color days, which weren't many nor are they widely found in good quality, still he has many interesting shots from otherwise economical situations (read: shoot at random stuff in a hurry) I think they are from 2 publications, one about Taipei's streets and another about mundane everyday stuff, appropriately called Fragment of Everyday Life, a good example of compositional experiments along with situational/contrast visual comedy (softcore porn ads in the middle of a family neighborhood) #29 here i believe comes from the Taipei book, strongly reminds me of Christopher Doyle's work in Fallen Angels, which somewhat fits in timeline as the savant aussie worked briefly there in the mid-80's and the book was released in the same years (84-85) I have 2 posts on the pocket but i don't know how to fill them with enough text, one will be an exemption of the 12/25/50 pics rule of mine as i will easily surpass it. Just saying that because i didn't abandon the thread, just went to do other things and i got into something bigger than expected with our subjects.
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On this nice day i think it's time we started talking, here at the Exhibition, about one of the famous names we previously made reference about, and i assure you this guy did back up his claim to history. But before we do let's delve into other heavy-hitters of history, mostly pioneers, to somewhat understand his nonconformity, overall maverick spirit and what really made this old fellow so influential... along with tackling the obligatory beginnings of this hobby with early names of course.
The Auguste Bisson Brothers, Louis-Auguste (1826–1900) and Auguste-Rosalie (1814–1876), born in Paris, France, were learned sons of a heraldic/royalty painter called Louis-François and became celebrated photographers with a big shot studio in the city of light back in the "golden age" of photography were getting paid to explore cool places with a camera, along with having drinks with royalty and famous figures, was the vogue profession. Contemporaries, and at times it seems student/friends, of other notable protogs/artists like Nadar, Le Gray and Baldus, these dudes jumped into the money and history (also almost bankruptcy) due to their big chunky prints of detailed portraits and landscape exploration, specialties of Louis and Rosalie respectively, sponsored by the royals and free absynthe drinks of course.
They opened their cool studio around 1841 and were called around all the time, but the focus i wanted to bring was Rosalie's specific jobs commanded by Napoleon III since 1860 to survey some areas he was interested into for his big time restorations or simply to kick back at the sceneries; basically the boys were sent to explore cool places that sometimes were tough to reach, although all expenses paid, to get very technical images and present a report to the guy himself, all while at times Louis would stay in Paris getting all the clients. Ros used some kind of trickery i honestly don't know much, perhaps ultra-sensible techniques or very expensive lenses, to pull moderately fast exposures with somewhat high apertures to get enough details out of the landscapes or buildings said to get. First Nap 3 requested both to accompany him to Savoya, the picturesque historical alps region/country controversially dissolved/forcefully annexed by France in the Treaty of Turin (schemed by Nap 3 himself) along with Nissa, and divided nowadays between Italy's Piedmonte and Aosta Valley administrations, France's Alpes regions and Switzerland's Vaud and Valais cantons, sweetly divided by Lake Geneva in the middle. Then after checking their job the dude send Ros (and 25 groupies to carry his stuff) to register the trip of some of his explorers to the top of Mont Blanc, the alps' highest peak. Supposedly he's first guy to take pictures of the top of an important mountain, his technique and shots were acclaimed and showed the general public the nature of the realm's toughest places. Massive good boy points were seemingly earned by the Bisson Bros. in these trips, not to mention prestige, they would be thrown to more exotic/ready-to-invade places later on, including Egypt.
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In those days styles were certainly happening but nothing was settled, it was certainly an era of experimentation and the brothers pulled rich and detailed sceneries out of their technique, honestly haven't checked that much about landscape from those years but they are definitely one of the most famous examples if not the most in that regard, not to mention their architecture shots too.
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Soul-reaping was still a common joke around those days but many were skeptical or didn't have that much interest in this new fangled heliography thing, but Louis still achieved to convince, pull or simply be in the right place to get famous portraits, some from individuals who seem to have only taken one photo in their entire life spans: Frederic Chopin and Honore de Balzac. Sorry for the stock image in B-sack's portrait, seems the only decent quality version is that one.
The big prints talked about, 30x40cm, worked through with the Collodion Process and paired with their technique provided much detail as we have seen, they also at times (before Nap's jobs) explored a bit of Europe to get pics of interesting sights from other cities and sell them as big souvenirs, proving to be valuable architectural data after the events of WWI and even WWII. Seen here are the Guild House of the Free Boatmen in Belgium's Gand/Ghent and the Chateau de Chambord, a famous french palace but back-then an abandoned castle, unfinished and used previously as plenty of things except a castle or a palace. Same with Honore's photo, the best around is property of the stock overlords. Anyways, this way of work seemed to be having a contrasting battle against a popular format in those days called the carte de visite, roughly translated into Visitor's Card or Card of Visit, their purpose was to have a cool enough space to write things down like name, address, note section and at later dates even phone number. The other side had a bitching image of yourself or something else representative of you, the size? 6x10cm at most. The freres didn't want to dumb down their complex images and still wanted to hand the photos like paintings or images honorable enough to hang on the wall. Les cartes de visite were an important part of the social life and complexity of the french, much like a bunch of yuppies flexing their presentation cards made with eggshell texture, kids bragging their baseball/pokemon cards or teenagers collecting italian-made football squad cards in World Cup days, the french likewise liked to strut their stuff and/or leave their shit in houses with a note behind telling their pals "where are you?" along with their mug on the front with a rad suit and a curly mustache. The unsuspecting gift receiver was left then with an item to fill their personal logs or family books with pictures of their friends, contacts or merely a cool picture of a famous dude or composition. So, as you can imagine the lack of that presentation meant no cool points, no coolness means no money, no money means no resources, no resources means no photo and there you have it.
Already midnight in Gypsyland? at least i posted AA's portrait in the good 7th day. Talking about portraits, i haven't found one of either Bisson freres, funnily enough. In these last ones we can see the dantesque proportions of these holy places with the ever-so-useful human scale figure, seen in the entrance of the second picture. Lovely places, shame about what the city has become, at least there's also a couple of street photography items see? it existed since the mid 19th for us to enjoy.
Some of the fabled Egypt ruins images before that place was massively plundered by the locals, although tomb raiders had already done much damage way, way before these images were taken.
>>82 >>83 >>84 >>85 >>86 >>87 >>88 >>89 these are good anon, thanks. i'm updating my board archive to catch these.
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So, after seeing a quick look (relevant to the future topic at hand) of what those frenchies did with their techniques, lenses and funding, we are going to jump to the back-then Great Kingdom and check an interesting subject sadly not given enough credit but highly relevant too for the enduring legacy it provoked. Then we will get another quick photog example from said stylistic repercussion movement, he's picked not so much due to his name but to give an above-average, but still usual, subject that represented the immediate context of the guy we want to fully see. Although it's worth saying that the next figure here was as influential, if not even a bit more, in the long run but due to circumstances there's not that much to see; still i cannot stress the importance enough. Also i broke a rule there with the Bissons, 35 photos instead of 12s or 24s, but it's to showcase their work on a single sitting instead of returning to them. Our actual dump will be 100+ due to it being a special subject so we are only starting, and in the future i will probably just post whatever seems necessary to showcase a photographer's work, but it will be done in 5s or 10s... just because of my OCD there, s-sorry. >>90 I was supposed to do a long dump but wanted to do it on that specific day, so i just let it rest while refining the writing down a bit, i left many details out it's embarrassing so i'm just writing it again. >i'm updating my board archive to catch these. wat
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>>91 Please, post more of that exquisite architecture stuff if you can.
>>91 Cool. Well I'm glad you are Anon. >wat I keep personal, full board archives of ones I'm interested in. Anoncafe/p is one of them. That's all.
>>92 Well i was originally going to jump into my next subject but what the hell let's post some more of the bros, i took another rest to read some more, funny i can go active all day but the moment i put myself a goal i get all lazy and sleepy. I didn't really went far like i usually do with these brothers because i didn't find many "presentable" landscapes from them but i guess there's a few more from the arch area i kept reserved. Architecture photography is one of my most favorite things so in the future i will probably lurk around that, although it is very few who took their credits continuously other than a couple of despot individuals of hebrew descent.
>>93 >I keep personal, full board archives of ones I'm interested in Hey man thanks for the interest, no sarcasm honestly i felt warm when i read that. Hope you like what we are going to see, it's going to be plenty, and i will try to be more complete with the filenames next time now that you mention that.
>>92 Actually i'm glad you told me to return, it didn't cross my mind to search for Bisson "Freres" or "Fratelli", and i found by chance an italian article with tons of cool photos and extra bits of history of the Bissons that complete the puzzle. Well what can i say, these guys were a secondary subject and it ended up being a dump as big as the main one, but it's for the best as it seems they were more important than i thought first.
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My dagese is extremely rusty but i could manage to understand most of the article: >https://www.giornalepop.it/fratelli-bisson-talenti-diversi-per-un-unico-obiettivo/ According to it these fellas used photography as an almost professional escape for their actual interests, Louis was previously an architecture student with a side affinity in chemistry while Rosalie also ventured a little into it along with liking the mountainerism life (we will hear that kind of thing later on with another subject). Louis ended up in photography and started with the Daguerrotype process, managing to perfect the technique along with shortening the exposure by such very dramatic times that he was recalled to the National Academy of Science to explain his discovery. In 1843 he officially opened his studio in the gorgeous St. Germain area (today a Saudi enclave), his practice was renowned and was later on recalled to the National Assembly too.
Pretty skilled dude it seems but these invitations were reiterative because let's remember, back in those years France would become a batshit insane political struggle between monarchists, republicans, republicans hiding as monarchists to get a hold on power and complete a cool succession and also monarchists hidden as republicans going for the legal way to get power and do a switcheroo to be kangz again, these were in the end the eventual winners/ Still nothing really big happened other than economical reforms which affected the countryside to either get paid to grow food or to repair old glory, so things were going on as usual with France making war with others and stealing land until the Paris Commune happened decades later
By 1850 Rosalie would come into the scene as the younger brother trying to help Lou, later on in '51 a new way of photography would appear in France called the Collodion Process, they switched to it immediately and with their previous experience dealing with Daguerre's plates they basically became the most advanced protogs around, at least in merely technical aspects. Still the story goes that Lou and Ros would usually work in separate ways, the former was actually supported by Louis Sr. the father while Ros would go around securing investments or closed inside his studio.
In that '51 year Lou would also be one of the founding members of the Societe Heliographique or Heliographic Society, a group of photographers allied with an assortment of other artists and quirky scientists to discuss and get drunk talking about ideas and ways to do stuff. Basically a kool kid klub using their jobs and interests as social justification.
In the next years they would be fought hard by the new wave of highly competitive and inventive photographers looking to cash-in in that very in-vogue profession, education and techniques to pull it off were more commonly found and the dudes needed to pack some punch to keep living. Lucky for these they were friends of many influential people who ended up benefiting in the '48 revolution that switched tracks to another monarchy with Napoleon III by '52, along with being part of that society which had top brass and trophies in international competitions, which meant more contacts or handover jobs.
Soon enough the brothers became sought-after for their high resolution images which meant they were one of the few who could pull out good Architecture Photography, as you can see our current theme. Some other jobs happened, such as jobs from the Museum of Natural History in the local Paris, and due to the volume of work sometimes they needed help from others, mainly cohorts from the club like Charles Blanc, a known art critic from those days. Mainly taking pictures of animals, objects and sometimes highly-valued paintings in the Louvre.
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In 1854 these guys met an industrial hotshot from Alsatia, a German region west of the Rhine that France would also grab in a dubious treaty at the end, the Versailles one but many years later the dude was called Dollfus-Ausset and made a deal with royal help (but not entirely to them, so Nap III doesn't actually take the credit here) requesting the brothers to take pictures of the Mont Blanc's glaciers, this because he observed and was convinced the ice there was starting to slowly retire from the area but also returned from time to time due to some reason, something every scienceman laughed at because glaciers are eternal.
Rosalie tried to go there a couple of times but failed short of the summit due to climate conditions, but the third time was the charm and he reached peak by 1861, taking a bunch of photos while having his sweet freezing time. This concluded Ros' personal ambition, having previously taken a famous 180cm x 50cm panoramic print of this mountain range, which kind of obsessed him while also giving him fame of being the first of its kind. While not as exaggerated as initially claimed, the glacier did seem to be retreating further up, proving the alsatian-with-a-suspicious-name somewhat right but also leaving the frenchies in their science saloon with a dilemma on why. These kinds of landscapes tried to reach a new modal for photography genre, trying to capture a realistic vision in form with that era's progress by factual evidence, but also trying in capturing the "majestic" nature itself and bending it into a "romantic" sort of art; the technical feat of it too was a factor in the extreme conditions. While in later years this kind of thing wouldn't be that much explored, it would prove to be extremely influential due to print reissues and the advent of photobooks after WWI (just prepping the shots here so things makes sense later on)
The side-kick of Ros trips were plenty, other than being paid for doing what he secretly liked, he also ate tons of foods and had the opportunity to live near an affected area of a big earthquake around 1855, which he himself survived and retold with photographic evidence on a report, which became a paradigm in Paris' scientific and journalistic community. Louis would also touch stone with all these shenanigans and Dollfus' money bags, his studio would reach the status of the city's best and by 1858 even the guy himself Napoleon III and his wife Eugenia would be usual clients; by 1860 they were invited to accompany him in his Savoya trip we previously mentioned.
Piece of shit internet, here goes again. Plenty of international exhibitions and a bunch of expensive print books happened which made these guys quite famous, and along his just-as-famous peers, pushed photography as a new medium for doing cool stuff. Many trips to achieve excellence, journeys to capture many of central europe's finest spots and so on and so on took a toll on Dollfus' pocket, the man loved art but had to abdicate on his hobby, especially after Ros pulled the final job on Mont Blanc. Then the big boom of photography happened around those years and everybody wanted/could only pay a humble carte de visit instead of a jumbo high-resolution print, and just like we said in >>87, the bros folded ultimately; the year was 1863, quite the dramatic fall.
Louis would team up in business with a dude called Emile Placet and would call it quits on photography at 59yo. Meanwhile Rosalie would go around as a freelancer photographer for various studios, he even reached Blanc's summit again in 1866 sponsored by a new wealthy photo studio called Leon & Levy, with such name you can imagine who were behind the investments. He traveled to Egypt around 1868-69, shot a new hall in the Louvre around 1873 for a private company called Goubil, and around 1883 worked for an alsatian company by Adolphe Braun & Co.
Lou died around 1876 (3 years after retiring) of unknown circumstances, Ros would call it quits in 1900 at 76. Both brothers have a clean catalogue of their work in a section of France's National Library, which includes tons of the portraits done to the socialite of the era, not included here due to reasons :^)
Speaking of their work i can say their technique was top notch for the era, and certainly some of that artistic eye helped with many photos, but most importantly it was the archival work itself that sells it because, for me, many of the images don't really have framing or composition, they aren't intended to either as they are works from companies or museums trying to do just that: Save images from places to be seen later on for any changes which happened sooner than later with buildings like the Old Hotel and the Tuileries Palace being torched down by gommies in the Bloody Week of 1870
These are from Roma, second image shows some soldiers guarding the "Temple of Vesta", which i think is actually a misnomer unless i didn't get a memo, the original one was destroyed multiple times and finally demolished by the church a thousand years later due to reasons. It was partially reconstructed but still that stuff is in the Roman Forum, not in the place the image shows. Don't really know what place it is but it does look like the archetype of a Vesta Temple, they say no man can enter a Vesta temple unless you want to receive serious damage or curses.
Monumental arc details and some detail from a church in Pisa. Very classy wooden fence there in Constantine.
Here's the eerie ones, very especially the last image with the lack of a discernible background or sky. love me some In the Void places. Also the Coliseum picture features in its lower left, probably by accident, a change on focus points which gives the illusion that the object in the image is a miniature. The effect is called Diorama but it's usually referred to as "Miniature Faking" or Miniaturization. And there we go, Les Frères Bisson in their arch and nature form.
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>>117 >lower left FUCK, i meant lower right, in the grassy field. Here's more explicit examples of said effect.
>>117 These are all very nice Anon, thanks.
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>>118 I enjoyed your niche historic insights a lot. Never before in all my shitposting career have i saved so much content from a single thread. So.. gonna move on to the next subject now? What's it gonna be? Interiors? Furniture? Self-portraits? Sculptures? Tableware? Elements of nature? Getting greedy here.
>>120 Oh, our subjects will be specific photographers and their realm of work rather than genres or themes, next one will be an obstinate lady who inadvertently changed the stylistic parameters of the hobby, it's quite off-topic from all these arch photos a couple of brothers did but in the end you'll see the context i wanted to reach. But in terms of aesthetics, especially European ones, it's just as interesting although won't be as big of a dump. Searching some bigger resolution pictures to make it worthwhile.
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I'm monitoring this thread.
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>>113 >Save images from places to be seen later on for any changes I don't mean to alarm you all, but speaking of which...
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Looks like OP has abobdoned us. Did he finaly realized that he's casting pearls before the swine? Maybe corona chan got him? Or maybe they took away his internet privileges inside the prison? Guess we'll never know.
>>125 >Looks like OP has abandoned us Hey there, not really but not gonna lie, i got a bit tired of reading and trying to write our subjects along with finding the best possible resolutions, but the images are already collected (220+) and i got plenty of names to investigate from the japanese spectrum later on, which is basically a different world in terms of photography as they play with their own rules (as usual from them to be fair). I would've not read so much but there's some photographers who have tons of legacy that deserve a bit more than 3 or 4 notes, although sometimes i would go into details not that necessary like the Pre-Raphaelites and their morally ambiguous shenanigans. I also got sidetracked organizing and filtering my own unedited photos into project folders, they are 8000+ and most of them out-of-focus and underexposed because i'm a beginner/my DSLR is a piece of trash with cheap broken lenses, it's a personal battle so i didn't think it was relevant for the audience. Honestly i didn't realize 2 weeks have passed already, guess i'll resume it soon enough.
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>>126 >guess i'll resume it soon enough I'll be looking forward to it.
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Fucking hell, it's been 2 weeks again? I keep writing and it just keeps going although i started recently. At this point let's do a quick intermission with the nip niche of photographers i mentioned so we can get things moving again, i already looking into some of them so this should be quick.
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Here's a few more i found from the man Issei Suda, i didn't do a through job on him because i didn't think i would do big dives on subjects hence why i keep finding more of his stuff, i actually found much more but the quality is small and many shots are mundane as isolated subjects, in a big conceptual narrative they do fit their space. For example number 28 here is a trait of him, taking pictures of eye images, he found out that when in certain moods or situations he would often see or focus on eye pictures, images and representations that appeared out of nowhere, which freaked him out at times due to the synchronicity but never paid so much attention to it to avoid the paranoid tag on him. Didn't work, he published a book about pictures of eyes, i don't think it's long but it certainly registers a ton of ophthalmologist offices in his city.
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So, in terms of narrative i might be overplaying a card here but as long as the shows goes on: Ikkō Narahara was an influential japanese photographer born in Fukuoka around 1931, we can bet he had it way worse than Issei due to the era, along the fact he lived near both regions that got the J-Bombs dropped in. He studied the law in a prestigious private university in Tokyo (Chuo) and graduated at 23 yo (1954) so we can deduce he either had a firm grasp in education and laws or he was from a well-financed family, after traveling around and seeing the picturesque north of Japan he decided to go balls-deep into his photography hobby and started snapping. Here we have some photos from his Tokyo days, some of which he withheld from publication until the mid-90's, including a cheeky graduation picture. Reasons for keeping them will follow.
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Here's some assorted ones from various periods of his early to mid career. Right, so we can also deduce he either had extensive previous experience with the camera or simply had an innate talent for it, this so-called self-taught photog had his modest first exhibition (they were easier to do back in the day) in 1956, which compiled some of his photos since 1954. It was a monumental hit on the scene and pretty talked about in its era, it influenced many future photogs about how casual photography done in such a level becomes a documentary archive, along with being aesthetic as hell and surprising many critics due to it being the debut project of the photographer in any field regarding the arts Ikkō actually reserved himself until he had "a big one", which came rather soon-ish in his career
The exhibition was called Human Land or The Land of Humanity (人間の土地 / Ningen no Tochi) it combined 2 projects of his: One was called Village at the Foot of the Volcano, a view on a little town called Kurokami Mura (Black God Village) besides Sakurajima volcano in the deep south of Japan. Said place grants the denizens near it no clean water, among other things like fumes, rocky as hell terrain and many sights from the old place that was buried in a 1914 eruption, the one that expelled so much bad hot gooey stuff that it turned the former island into a peninsula connected to the mainland. Due to that exhibition/book not having too many scans, and considering its importance, i grabbed many of the images from a gov site which doesn't have a lot of resolution, sorry 'bout that. That Gate Entrance is one of those tall ones you see in movies, here shown buried after that aforementioned incident.
Kurokami Mura was not a very prosperous place to say the least, the inhabitants were the youths and their descendants left of those who lost pretty much everything, times were pretty tough but they found ways to amuse themselves, not to mention the place was certainly picturesque. They practically rebuild it over the years, with new blocks, new shrine, a school, but still it seems to have been rough. Here we also have a perv shot, we always need one of those with these japs.
Carrying water was fundamental for these fellows, walking for it into nearby villages every damn day and with the porous terrain i bet they were specialized in making tough straw shoes. As you can see perhaps the beach and the view were worth it for some of these denizens of Earth. Here in the third picture we are starting to see this trend with the japs that i got to get very fond of since i shot/lived through a similar view once: The lack of separation between sky and sea, making the islands or almost any subject appear to be floating in a void. Very cool, i've mentioned "Into the Void" feelings in photography a couple of times before although with other kind of views/techniques, and i know it's repetitive but i get my rocks off from it, what can i say. I'm a novice in photo history (and shooting it too to be fair) but i highly suspect this japanese trait was started by 2 particular dudes i have in the lists, i wanted to start with them before Ikkō but oh well.
Some dawn/dusk shots, the injured man appears a couple of times in this project but i didn't found his particular story, he appears in the parents' side of a graduation event, as a worker and here as a busted up feller biding his time. For such nice clothes these guys live in dire conditions, later on or at least in recent years the place has become a tourist site and seems to have received some of that beach money.
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Now for the main meal of this post: The other, vastly more famous project which was ominously called The Island without Greens, documenting the denizens of Hashima Island aka Gunkanjima, the man-made artificial island in the middle of the Nagasaki coast front, which allowed a bunch of miners and their families an in-situ residence to keep chucking picks at big chunks of coal underneath it. This is a top-tier one if you ask me.
The Battleship Island as it stands translated, is a 480 meters long plus 160 meters wide apartment & mining complex established in 1887 that housed a little more than 5000 miners and their families members at one point; that's 83,500 dudes per km2, the peak was just a couple of years after these images were taken. Even when the photos don't show it you might guess it was a hive full of people but who certainly wouldn't liked it a lot, it's a concrete purgatory to say it kindly. The miners seem to be having a jolly good fraternal time anyways, who knows how much black ooze they got in their lungs, they seemingly didn't care a lot if the smoke break images are to go by.
Most cities or towns based around the mining industry usually have a couple of things in common and in abundance: Testosterone and money. So mixing in family members and kids can be an explosive combination, imagine that bunch of rowdy miners with money (or paying their social sentence) and then going out and finding nothing much to spend it on or pass the time in the non-punitive hours. For the family members it must've been pretty boring at times too but it seems they managed.
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The maintenance workers might've had it worse unless they were also direct family members which is my ignorant theory. At one point it was just a small island with a coal hill in it, the precious and not-uncommon-at-all rock was discovered around 1810, by '87 some folks started hauling it in boats and in '90 Mitsubishi just bought the damn place and made the hulking sea walls in. Around 1916 the first concrete building was made and things went turbo, 4 kilometer-deep mine shafts at some point and it was all dandy unless you had to go with clothes (95% humidity according to JimmyWalesPedia). In the Jap occupation of Manchuria many tough mothas, charged with reckless patriotism or just horrible crimes, were given a full-paid vacation to Hashima without scheduled return, so you might guess that apart from being a depressing sight the island was also haunted as hail, 2000 ghosts to be specific.
Narahara's use of diverse focal ranges, going from wide-angle to telephoto along with "normal" ones, give a varied but concise idea of the island and its tough as fuck conditions, either from the day-to-day miners' POV or from their bored relatives and jaded public janitors. Due to said variation in photo topics such as subjects and focal distances The Ik miraculously evaded being encased into a single genre and basically shat all over contemporary critics by pulling "street", architecture, portrait, documentary and landscape photography into a single solid presentation. This also gave old critics lay-way into their reasoning that photography itself only has 3 or 4 ways of shooting it, i would re-write them again but i actually forgot about those (no bully pls) all i remember is that i agreed completely; in technical terms there's very few ways how to shoot things, in terms of composition a bit more but still some few depending on the situation... the modern genre catalogue system basically just focuses on themes and the meta behind dealing with said things, hence why Ikkō buggered some people by shooting certain subjects with the "wrong" focal ranges and exposures.
At one point around the 70's the miner engineers saw that they had almost mined the entire thing up, so without further notice or planning everyone packed their stuff up and left in haste, practically abandoning the place in a week or so and without being able to get most of their furniture out, guards became the last ones to go some months later. It remained abandoned and visited by crafty perv tourists until around the late 90's, when its fame had gone overboard between certain circles and overnight the island became a meme in mainstream media, especially when they found out the place actually used prisoner labor, a war prisoner purgatory at some point between that too. At least from this some things happened like the Japanese government protecting the island with a royal decree and UNESCO papers (much to the chagrin of the butthurt zainichi war prisoners) granting it a ton of bucks for remodeling and later on being digitally modeled for Killer7; didn't save it from appearing in trashy movies like a James Bond one and a live-action remake of Attack On Titan, tho.
After this rotund success, The Ik was righteously motivated and went on to study art history in another prestigious private institution, getting his degree in reading books with many pictures in it around 1959. In that meantime he planned another couple of projects, the exhibition itself would be in 1958 under the name of Domains, focusing on 2 topics again (and at this point showcasing his constant duality between man in nature and man in the machine). One of the subjects was the Woman's Prison in Wakayama under the project name of Within the Wall, this place around the middle-south region of Kansai, and the other was the Trappist Monastery in the northern island of Dosanko under the project name Garden of Silence; as you may notice both are secluded, cloistered fellows biding their time in their own ways, until this guy with his camera paid a visit.
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This one i short-assed it due to time constraints also not a lot of high-resolution pictures around still they are interesting documents (the Prison more so) also one of the leftovers of this venture was pretty interesting too, it would appear on publication in the late 60's in a book called Japanesque (tough to trace pictures of) that one was about Buddhists at some Temple i didn't write down (sorry). The pictures are rad, you have to admit, some of them no doubt were inspiration for many cinematographers in the late 80's/early 90's Hong Kong Cinema; Zen 08 here screams Ping-Bing "Mark" Lee, Xiaoding Zhao or Tak-Hei "Peter" Pau, although in my early supposition here i might be missing an earlier pioneer.
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These ones were also a success, this guy was just hitting them out of the park, but in context there were some serious heavy hitters at the same time as Ikkō that supposedly were better and also predated him by a couple of years (pending investigation). The Eyes of Ten exhibition happened around 1957, showing the public 10 of the most well-known young photogs of the day (at least in preppy Tokyo) here Ikman would see face to face what those guys were about. And well, that event basically created a new style in the eyes of the critics. Our wee lad here wouldn't be easily discarded, although it seems by documentation that he respected them a lot, after a while (actually soon after the Domains exhibition) he contacted some of these monsters and seems to have ended up making frens. Another exhibition dubbed the same (Eyes of Ten) happened and at that point it was pretty much established, from those 10 it looks like 6 talked shop and stroke a partnership, soon they would establish the photographic cooperative agency Vivo, which i don't know much about at this point but they seem to enjoy legendary status among the hobby's history. Really, i feel stupid writing about it knowing it might as well be like somebody just discovering Led Zeppelin or something, still let's waddle on mentioning their legacy includes the solid manifestation or conclusive proof of a stylistic trend that had been observed over those years in post-war Japan but always in small examples, so-called "the image school" which bent the usual street/documentation photography rules of that era that based themselves in a realistic representation of events by the photographer's eye. By that i mean these guys composed, shot and tried to fool the viewer's eye with images that show stuff in either a very personal manner, showcasing lack of discernible visual barriers V.O.I.D. and/or using subjects in unorthodox compositions based on their intrinsic nature/meta. In short, visual games, abstraction and rule-breaking for the playful/pervs. They don't seem to have worked in constant artistic cooperation but rather in a sanctuary office space sharing expenses between all of them, everyone basically did what they wanted, sometimes made money in side-activities, and released stuff for art's sake without worrying about agents or jobs: Their fame was secure. It lasted only 3 years in full swing, pretty shit duration to be honest... but the influence their cheap publishing exploits made became the norm for the new wave of japanese visual styles, ranging from the actual new wave of japanese photographers of the 60's and 70's (in which our old buy Suda here is a product) to even some cinema efforts (Nagisa Ōshima's social degeneration movies of the late 60's). Some examples of Narahara from those years can be seen in the first two posts from this series, particularly Sumo Guy and Checkers. Another hit for the guy here, so much that after the movement died out he was invited to Europe to showcase some stuff, he ended up being given some jobs here and there which in part gave the man the will to live in the old Continent for a while. From 1962 to 1965 he resided in France, Spain and Italy, pulling some exhibitions on the latter two, even books. One called Europe: Where Time Has Stopped (ヨーロッパ・静止した時間 / Yōroppa: Seishi Shita Jikan) and for Spain another called España: Grand tarde (スペーン・偉大なる午後 / Supēn: Idai Naru Gogo), i didn't find many pics from those but here goes. After that he returned to Japan and decided to might as well, finish it with Japanesque (ジャパネスク / Japanesuku) which we previously mentioned with Zen Boys.
Big pimpin' so far, after his reiterative success in Japan (he won Japan Photo Critics Association's Photog of the Year in 1967) the guy made the next logical step, at least back then: America. Exhibitions and art money launder galore, Ikman resided in the big city from 1970 to 1974 and seems to have worked as a fashion protog like on his last days in Tokyo, he planned some projects in the big apple jew hell but the real, actual hit he conceived in America was an improvised adventure, and certainly one that won me over in terms of fanatic pleasure. In a somewhat relevant side-note Ikkō had at some point studied a couple of the greats of the American Photography scene more on that later, he attended some classes and exhibitions, his english was crap so he decided to film some reunions and try to understand them later on to polish or try to make sense of what the americans said. One of those occasions was with the j-photographer Diane Arbus, which is another subject on her own due to being part of this system many of you might know at this point entertainment industry tightly controlled by some few and pushing for certain kind of things but to make things short another thing that made Ik famous was that he obliviously recorded some conversations of this photog to study for a while, and time later when visited by some dudes who saw dem footage they calmly explained to him that, according to the dates showed, that was shot a few days before she had taken tons of drugs and cut her wrists out. This was relevant because it's supposedly some of the only footage available from her, a figure peddled by many for some reason or another, we shall see another day. Aaaanyways one week in 1971/2 the guy decided to vent out and explore the country's natural landscapes to check some places he saw, at one point traveling in the highways this japanese fellow realized the great plains and desert regions were actually quite literally vast areas of land with very few people going around and living peacefully like nobody's else business. Somehow this shocked him, and much like how he felt when he explored Europe's beautiful historical cities he saw that the southwest and surrounding areas are places Where Time Has Vanished (消滅した時間 / Shōmetsu Shita Jikan) seemingly another planet altogether and his ride was his ship. Later on he included a bunch of pictures from the big cities too, but the real protagonists are his small town and highway captures, ranging from reservations to casinos to hotel bars. Home sweet home.
Riding the desert on a leather interior must've been an interesting experience for the guy who lived a winter in Gunkanjima, many of these pictures (along with their locations) are possibly inspired from A.A. soon so the story about him studying western photography makes sense, he certainly gave them a vibe of ethereality on his own too. At this point i noticed the same thing as with Suda: It must be a real bitch to find these photo books in affordable prices, and then actually having the balls to bust open them to scan the images.
This guy afforded a Cadillac/Lincoln luxury 2+2 after working 2 years if not less, fucking fashion photography. Here we see some influence from E.H. soon-ish in the NY image, the Jackie Kennedy Masks image does kind of appear as an oddity rather than an actual composition in this project. So after this book/exhibition was released, the guy practically reinvented his name again but now in the Western Hemisphere, he sold a bunch of prints and was given free reign by a gallery to experiment with whatever. So I.K., known for his wide-angle images, picked the widest, thickest thing he could find and went to the streets for experimentation.
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He chose a "fish-eye" lens (uncorrected wide-angle optic) and starting doing some sort of street documentation, nowadays it's popular to see this kind of photography (there was even an app for it some months ago) but back then in 1975 he was basically pulling wool over people's eyes. Broadway, New York is a 1973's experiment in street/arch photography with many of the important avenues being registered using this template of 4 spaces shot with a ball of glass, don't doubt a bit this guy got paid big money by some people for it.
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In 1974 the guy got a Museum of Modern Art exhibition (MoMA the biggest noses in the world apart from Bilderberg) under the title of New Japanese Photography, in which he and some of his pals were protagonists and this place showcased their very best with prints readily available for sale at thousands of dollars. Some hearsay has been said and who really knows what happened there, either something too good or a puke-on-somebody's-wife situation but after that, and with more renown than some all-american protogs, Narahara packed his bags and returned to Japan once again. He went on to re-publish some of his american work there, made some new stuff, fashion shoots, by the early to mid 80's he returned to Italy to make some night experiments (shown in the second post), honestly there's not much i could find from the guy after the mid-70's other than him being a figure of respect by many of his peers. He delved into colour photography, something experimented in Japanesque but more focused on fashion and product; here's 2 pictures which i don't know where they came from, sunrise colours in a desert highway, man that's pretty. It might be from his american journey but i'm not sure. Around that era he went to London and Seoul to exhibit his exploits, probably made some cash, and after that i would just be deducing and pulling things out of a hat based on his books' titles. Won some personal recognitions and prizes like the Higashikawa-Shõ (one of the 3 big prizes back there, surprisingly the modest Suda won it first) and the all-prestigious japanese Medal with Purple Ribbon. That's the thing with the japanese, tough to trace or find documentation of them. From 1999 to 2005 he seems to have been a professor at the Graduate School of Kyushu Sangyo University in his natal Fukuoka, along with one of his pals, and later on he had some retrospective shows here and there in big cities. In January 2020 he called it quits at 88 years old, his obituary and several retrospective previews of the american days were my introduction to him so i guess his story is still being retold.
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His particular style regarding the visual games and tricks with the horizon lines are tasty, at least for me, along with the use he gave to the wide-angle lenses, providing them with a niche to shoot people too unlike what the critics said. His actual influence might be more obvious to me in further ventures into the nippon photography scene, or perhaps i might see some who shaped his eye, but so far he's a favorite due to his very clear cut topics and documentation, projects presented in pairs, blue palettes and obviously his stylistic freedom. Now that i think of it maybe i've seen work of his before but who knows, perhaps one day i'll find his fashion/studio shots and provide some further examples. Meanwhile i guess i will finish the other posts first.

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