The History of Japanese Photography

Anne Wilkes Tucker, Dana Friis-Hansen, Kaneko Ryuichi, and Takeba Joe; With essays by Iizawa Kotaro and Kinoshita Naoyuki

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Over the past 150 years, Japanese photographers have created an impressive body of work that ranges from dignified imperial photographs to sweeping urban panoramas, from early ethereal landscapes to modern urban mysteries. Despite the richness, significance, and variety of this work, however, it has largely been neglected in Western histories of photography. This gorgeous and groundbreaking book—the first comprehensive account of Japanese photography from its inception in the mid-nineteenth century to the present day—reveals to English-speaking audiences the importance and beauty of this art form.

Written by a team of distinguished Japanese and Western scholars, this book establishes that photography began to play a vital role in Japanese culture soon after its introduction to Japan in the 1850s. Illustrated essays discuss the medium’s evolution and aesthetic shifts in relation to the nation’s historical and cultural developments; the interaction of Japanese photographers with Western photographers; the link between photography and other Japanese art forms; and photography as a record and catalyst of change. Handsomely designed and generously illustrated with beautiful duotone and color images, the book emphasizes not only the unique features of Japanese photography but also the ways it has influenced and been influenced by the country’s culture and society.

Anne Wilkes Tucker is the Gus and Lyndall Wortham Curator of Photography at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Dana Friis-Hansen is director of the Austin Museum of Art; Iizawa Kotaro is a photo historian and critic in Tokyo; Kaneko Ryuichi is a photo historian who has served as guest curator at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography since 1990; Kinoshita Naoyuki is assistant professor of cultural studies at the University of Tokyo; and Takeba Joe is a curator at the Nagoya City Art Museum.

 The History of Japanese Photography is an interesting pedagogical initiative that will delight a general audience and provide it with bird’s eye view of 150 years of Japanese photography.”—Bruno Chalifour, Afterimage

The History of Japanese Photography is an immense volume of information that highlights the unique features of Japanese photography, but also the ways in which Japanese culture and society have shaped—and been shaped by—the opening of the lens and the click of the shutter.”—theGlobalist

“Superb. . . . An impressively organized, thoughtful and comprehensive homage to many great Japanese photographers. The lavishly reproduced 206 images spanning 150 years evocatively capture the range and evolution of photography in Japan.”—Jeff Kingston, The Japan Times

“This collection is the most comprehensive reference book on the subject that is currently available in English. However, what makes this groundbreaking catalogue truly a meaningful step in the studies of Japanese photography is the way in which the authors situate the work in the context of the international art scene without losing sight of its cultural specificity. . . . It is certain that all of us in the field can benefit from the merging of documentation-based and theoretical approaches that is presented in this catalogue.”—Mikiko Hirayama, CAA Reviews

“This beautifully illustrated catalogue will be welcomed by many as a significant contribution to the literature on the field. . . . This is an impressive volume that begins to fill a significant void in English-language literature on Japanese photography. . . . It constitutes an indispensable resource. . . . Sure to inspire much solid research in the future.”—Karen Fraser, Art Journal

“With a wonderful amount of material, including chronology, artist profiles and bibliography, this substantial work of scholarship adds enormously to the field.”—Kraszna-Krausz Foundation

Winner of the Maine Photographic Workshops 2003 Golden Light Award for best Historical book

Winner of the 2003 Professional/Scholarly Publishing Division Annual Awards Competition in the Arts category

Finalist for Independent Publisher Book Awards 2004 in the Performing Arts category

Won Special Commendation for the 2004 Kraszna-Krausz Prize

Named an outstanding Book of 2003 by Camera Arts

Winner of the 2005 International Award of the Photographic Society of Japan

Selected as one of the "Best Photography Books of 2003" by photo-eye Books
ISBN: 9780300099256
Publication Date: February 8, 2003
Co-publisher: Published in association with the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
432 pages, 9 1/2 x 12
50 b/w + 356 color illus.
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