Old Japanese photography and French New Wave ramble.
It’s not news that I like Japanese photography from the 60s and 70s (see posts, here, here, here, here). Why is for much the same reasons I return often to French New Wave cinema. Call that reason a stripped down aesthetic which verges on a sensual brutality. Nearly able to chew on it. But what saves it from being trite w/ brutality, is a delve headfirst into the subconscious – wait, no, subconscious might prompt something psychoanalytic. That’s too much for here. But by subconscious I mean the very deepest and most uncontrolled and most fundamental mechanisms taking place in our minds. I guess it’d be easiest to just call it, our dreams. (Makes me think of Joyce writing in Ulysses, “history is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.”) It’s a documentation of an entirely different sorts, and it makes the work not brutal, but rather almost unbearably human and gentle.
I’m not informed enough to make theories on the reasons, the whys of parallel creative evolutions, but just look at Shomei Tomatsu’s work and then go watch Chris Marker‘s short film, La Jetee (here). Breathe deep.
There isn’t going to be order here though. Ramblings. B/c what I really wanted to do was just list some old Japanese photography. The inspiration being a well done new book out by Aperture Foundation called Japanese Photobooks of the 1960s and ’70s, which reminded me recently how important this work is.
Jun Morinaga, namely his book River: It’s Shadow of Shadow:
(These tiny and poor jpegs are not doubt not representative of the quality of this work – this stuff is not easy to find on the internet…a fact that gives me a little hope this morning.)
Masahisa Fukase, and his series Solitude of the Ravens:
Tetsuya Ichimura, who’s work is almost impossible to find online, but he’s done a number of books, all now very rare I think:
Nobuyoshi Araki, who we all know as a photographer of gorgeous flowers and gorgeous bound women, but his book Sentimental Journey reveals a side of him little known. This older work is, again, almost non-existent online.
Eikoh Hosoe, who I’d not heard of until just recently:
And a few more obvious ones I’ve touched on before on this site and who are very well known, Shōmei Tōmatsu,
For God’s sake, now that (↑) is photography.
and Daidō Moriyama:
A friend recently offered me a simple and apt definition of good art, saying it “is something people want to experience again…after seeing it they immediately want to relive it, and then again and again.” This work then, to me, is good art.
Yes Yes. Tremendous.