This fascinating Japanese photography book features over 140 images taken between 1853 and 1905 by the most important local and foreign photographers then working in Japan.
Almost one-fourth of the images are hand colored, superb examples of a rich art form long since vanished. The Japan of this book too has disappeared, but author and compiler Terry Bennett has put together a unique portrait of the country at perhaps its most decisive turning point, a nation about to abandon its traditional ways and enter the modern age.
Important features of Early Japanese Images include the following: A historical overview of the years 1853-1912 The story of early Western photographers in Japan The story of early Japanese photographers Over 100 images reproduced in original sepia tones Over 40 images reproduced as originally handcolored An invaluable index that identifies the photographers
English author Bennett (Japan: Caught in Time), who owns a business devoted to early Japanese printed matter, notes that for some 30 years after photography's invention in Europe, serious photography in Japan was largely the work of globe-trotting Europeans fascinated by Japan's exotic vistas and customs. By the 1860s, however, Japan's own camera artists had produced major work, preeminently Kusakabe Kimbei of Yokohama and Tokyo's Tamamura Kozaburo. In the representative selection presented here-largely in the sepia tones and hand-coloring of the period-we see shrines and Buddhas, harbor views, artisans at work, fire-fighters, tattooed men, warriors in armor, along with the Emperor Meiji and his empress, a Samurai council, bathing scenes both public and private and "teahouse" women in sensual embrace. A highly specialized subject of antiquarian interest.