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Article

David M. Sokol

(b Okayama, Sept 1, 1893; d Woodstock, NY, May 14, 1953).

American painter, photographer and printmaker of Japanese birth. He arrived in the USA in 1906 and studied at the Los Angeles School of Art and Design from 1907 to 1910. He then moved to New York, studying, in rapid succession, with Robert Henri at the National Academy of Design, at the Independent School of Art and from 1916 to 1920 with Kenneth Hayes Miller at the Art Students League. He supported himself through his later art studies and thereafter as an art photographer. He travelled to Europe in 1925 and again in 1928, settling in Paris, where he studied lithography at the Atelier Desjoubert. After a trip back to Japan in 1931 he worked on the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration during the Depression. Paintings such as Fisherman (1924; New York, MOMA) show both his interest in Surrealism and a blend of his two cultures. His massive forms of the late 1930s and early 1940s, as in ...

Article

James Crump

(fl Yokohama, 1880–1912).

Japanese photographer. He is considered among the foremost photographers in Japan during the late 19th century, although information about him is scarce. He was apprenticed to the Austrian photographer Baron von Stillfried-Rathenitz, Raimund, and his work is informed by the European colonial tradition of studio photography, in which Japanese ‘types’ were recorded primarily for touristic export. In 1885 he purchased von Stillfried-Rathenitz’s studio. Kusakabe’s enterprise produced thousands of genre photographs depicting local merchants, craftsmen, prostitutes, geishas, children and the Japanese working class (e.g. Vegetable Vendor, 1880s; Salem, MA, Peabody Mus., see Worswick, p. 111). As one of the Treaty ports during the Meiji period (1868–1912), Yokohama had a thriving photographic trade, and Kusakabe’s studio portraits were in great demand by tourists in search of the exotic and romanticized Asian ‘Other’. Posed before a studio backdrop and photographed frontally and in full length, his subjects were presented in a manner highly influenced by European conventions but with more pronounced individuality and psychological character. As he himself was Japanese, his work marks a subtle transition in the way Japanese ‘types’ were portrayed, the photographs being imbued with a greater sense of emotion. After ...

Article

Reena Jana

[Lee Seung-Hee]

(b Kye-Chang, Korea, 1970).

Korean photographer and filmmaker. Lee is known for her self-portraits, in which she presents herself in various ethnic and societal roles, from a middle-aged, low-income Hispanic party hostess to a young, wealthy Asian businesswoman. Lee received her BFA from the Chung-Ang University in South Korea in 1993, an AAS from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York in 1996, and an MA in Photography, New York University, 1999. For her Projects series (1997–2001), Lee immersed herself in various American communities for extended time, from a clique of teenage skateboarders to executives who work in midtown Manhattan, informing group members of her status as an artist while assuming the wardrobe, hairstyle and mannerisms of a fictional character she sought to portray. She then asked members of these social groups to photograph her using everyday cameras and no enhanced lighting or backgrounds. The result is a series of snapshot-like images depicting the artist taking on a multitude of temporary personalities. When seen together, the photographs suggest a mosaic of American experiences....

Article

Celia Stahr

(b Bugok, South Korea, April 29, 1953).

American photographer and installation artist of Korean birth. Min came to the USA when she was seven and went on to study art at the University of California, Berkeley, receiving her BA in 1975, her MA in 1977 and her MFA in 1979. She has described herself as a child of Cold War politics and a member of the 1.5 generation who are Korean-born Americans. She occupies a liminal space, something that is often explored in her art. In Make Me (1989; see Cahan and Kocur, p. 85), she placed various texts, such as ‘Model Minority’, over four different bisected photographs of her face. These cut photographs with text force the viewer to confront common stereotypical images of Asian Americans.

In much of Min’s art, personal issues are tied to international power struggles, deCOLONIZATION (1991; see Neumaier, pp. 134–7), for example is a mixed-media installation that examines the social and psychological impact of colonialism on Korean women. In the centre of the installation a traditional Korean dress, on which there are handwritten excerpts in Korean and English from Won Ko’s poem ...

Article

Catherine M. Grant

revised by Jennifer Way

(b Tokyo, Feb 21, 1967).

Japanese photographer, video artist, performance artist, sculptor, installation artist and painter. Mori studied fashion at the Bunka Fashion Institute in Tokyo from 1986 to 1988 and worked part-time as a model before moving to London to study at the Shaw School of Art (1988–9) and the Chelsea College of Art (1989–92), where she earned a BFA. In New York she participated in the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art (1992–3). In 1994 Mori returned to Tokyo and began making large digital photographs and videos in which she appears as a ‘shaman, mermaid, cyber-geisha and visitor from the future’ (Johnson, p. 56). Subsequently, she assembled teams of stylists, photographers, computer imagists, sound technicians and fabricators along with musicians and scientists to create immersive multimedia installations consisting of digital photography, music, video, cinematic spatial effects, abstract biomorphic sculptural forms, paintings and scent, engaging users and responding to data and environmental stimuli. She exhibited her art in biennale exhibitions throughout the world, for example, in Singapore, Venice, Shanghai, Sydney, Kwangju, Istanbul and Lyon. From ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Osaka, 1951).

Japanese photographer. He graduated from Kyoto City University of Art in 1978. He came to prominence in the 1980s with staged photographs and parodies of Old Master paintings. From the mid-1980s he commonly featured himself as a model in photographs based on famous works from art history, using costumes and make-up to recreate the scenes, subsequently brushing the surface with varnish to simulate the appearance of paintings. One of his first involved a self-portrait of van Gogh, but he later completed an entire series relating to Rembrandt’s corpus of self-portraits (see 1994 exh. cat.). Often Morimura portrayed himself in female roles: in his series Actor/Actresses (see 1997 exh. cat.) he portrayed Marilyn Monroe and Vivien Leigh, among others. His interest in art history led him to manipulate other canonical images, often inserting himself in the most incongruous ways: In Fish (Tamaki) 2 (1991; see 1991 exh. cat., p. 51) he incorporated his own face in place of a fish’s head. The face of each angel in ...

Article

Kohtaro Iizawa

revised by Karen M. Fraser

(b Osaka, Oct 10, 1938).

Japanese photographer and writer. He studied photography at the studio of Takeji Iwamiya (1920–89) in Osaka. He moved to Tokyo in 1961 hoping to join the radical Vivo (Esperanto: ‘life’) photography group. It was on the verge of dissolving, however, and instead he became an assistant to Eikoh Hosoe. Moriyama drew inspiration from former Vivo members Hosoe and Shōmei Tomatsu, as well as the American photographer William Klein. He developed a distinctive style that employed grainy, blurred and spontaneous snapshot imagery, shooting either without looking through the viewfinder or from a moving car, for example, and cropping images in unexpected ways. These qualities created a vivid physical sensibility in Moriyama’s work, which he described as taking photos with his body more than his eye. His first major collection of work, Nippon gekijō shashinchō (‘Japan: A photo theatre’, 1968), firmly established his representative style. It featured high-contrast, rough images of Kabuki and avant-garde theatre performers interspersed with random snapshots to create a loose, impressionistic, and dreamlike narrative. It also established one of his preferred formats, the photobook, which he would use repeatedly to present a sequence of disconnected images together in bound form....

Article

Kohtaro Iizawa

(b Yanagawa, Aug 3, 1895; d Ashiya, Jan 20, 1949).

Japanese photographer. He was the first student to graduate from the photography course of the Tokyo School of Fine Art (now Tokyo University of Fine Arts and Music), after which he was sent by the Ministry of Agriculture and Trade to train in the USA. In 1921 he opened the Laquan Studio on Fifth Avenue, New York, and was active as a portrait photographer, taking such pictures as Dancer, New York (1922; see 1979 exh. cat., no. 46). In 1926, at the suggestion of Nyota Inyoka, a dancer he had known in New York, he went to Paris and took fashion and theatre photographs for the magazine Femina. At that time he photographed the stage sets and costumes of Enrico Prampolini. While in New York and Paris, Nakayama absorbed much from contemporary avant-garde art and went on to establish his own style.

In 1927 Nakayama returned to Japan and established a studio in Ashiya, Hyōgo prefecture, in ...

Article

Kohtaro Iizawa

(b Omuta, Nov 3, 1931).

Japanese photographer. He studied art history at Waseda University, Tokyo (1954–9), and a one-man exhibition of his work was held at the Matsushima Gallery in 1956. His theme of man and the land gained him attention as a rising photographer. It was an intensely personal record of the life of the people of Hashima (popularly known as ‘Warship Island’), an island in Nagasaki Prefecture created artificially for coal mining, and of the people of the village of Kurokami, Kagoshima Prefecture, suffering the fall-out of volcanic ash from Sakurajima. The works were later published as Ningen no tochi (‘Man and his land’). From 1959 to 1962 he was one of the members of the Vivo group, which included Eikoh Hosoe and Shomei Tomatsu. He signed his prints ‘Ikko’.

Ikko lived in Europe between 1962 and 1965, and from 1970 to 1974 in the USA, earning international recognition. In 1969...

Article

Kohtaro Iizawa

(b Urawa, nr Tokyo, Feb 12, 1889; d Hayama, Kanagawa Prefect., Aug 14, 1964).

Japanese photographer, painter and patron. The eldest son of a wealthy banker, he studied economics at Keio University but left in 1912 because of mild tuberculosis. By this time he had begun to work seriously as an amateur photographer, becoming a member of the influential amateur group, the Tokyo Society for Photography (Tokyo Shashin Kenkyū-kai), in 1911. His entry, Muddy Sea (see Ozawa, pp. 10–11), won second prize in the Society’s third exhibition of 1912. From 1910 to 1920 he produced photographs on a wide range of subjects, including landscapes, portraits and nudes. Particularly important as a forerunner in the photographic depiction of the nude in Japan is Woman under a Tree (1915; see Shigemori, p. 8).

During the same period Nojima, a keen art lover, extended his relationship with painters and potters such as Rȳusei Kishida, Ryūzaburō Umehara and Kenkichi Tomimoto and became their patron. He opened the Kabutoya Gadō gallery in Kanda, Tokyo, in ...

Article

Karen M. Fraser

(b Hyogo Prefecture, 1945).

Japanese photographer, sculptor, and conceptual artist. He studied at Kyoto City University of Fine Arts, where he earned a BFA in 1967 and an MFA in 1969. Nomura was initially trained as a sculptor. In his MFA thesis project, Tardiology (1969), Nomura explored the idea of non-permanent sculptural form, creating an eight-metre tall cardboard sculpture and then using photographs to record the changes in form as the boxes gradually collapsed under their own weight. From that point on photography was one of his primary media. Nomura was interested in investigating processes of scientific and natural phenomena with a particular focus on the passage of time. He used photographs to capture movement and changes over time and to make previously unseen things visible. Many of his projects were created over lengthy periods, with photographs being taken daily or monthly and for years. In his 1991 Analemma series (The Analemma ’91-Noon...

Article

Alice Ming Wai Jim

[Tetsuaki ]

(b Los Angeles, CA, March 3, 1940).

Alice Ming Wai Jim

Japanese American photographer.

In 1942, two months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor during World War II, Tetsu Okuhara and his family were forced by the US government to evacuate their Westinter Coast home and relocate to a Japanese American internment camp south of Denver, CO. After the war, the family moved to Chicago, IL, where Okuhara grew up and studied at the University of Chicago (1959–62). Working as a freelance photographer, he moved to New York to attend the Cooper Union School of Art and Architecture (1969–71). The first major public appearance of Okuhara’s work was in the July 1971 issue of Life magazine, which featured what was to be his most famous image, a 360-degree photo collage portrait of his wife. Susan (1971) consists of 112 individual black-and-white photographs of her head taken from different angles and then assembled into a single composite image using a grid format. The full nude portrait of ...

Article

Reiko Tomii

(b Tokyo, May 1965).

Japanese conceptual artist who has used photography, video, painting, sculpture, installation and performance. He received degrees in oil painting (1989) and mural painting (1991) from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music. Ozawa belongs to the so-called subculture generation of Japan; those immersed in manga and anime in their childhood. Like his contemporaries (such as Takashi Murakami (b 1962) and Makoto Aida (b 1965)), he freely borrowed from both traditional and modern cultures to critique the institutions of art, life and society, while humorously exploiting everyday culture, such as Jizō (Sk: Kshitigarbha; a popular Buddhist deity of salvation), soy sauce and milk-bottle receptacles.

For his first major project Jizoing, begun in 1988, he photographed a small handmade figurine, or a rudimentary drawing of Jizō, at some 80 places in Japan, as well as China, Tibet, Korea, Moscow, Tehran and New York over a period of more than 10 years. The photographs, monochromatically printed and tinted in pale blue to invoke a time of twilight, were compiled into a book (...

Article

Erika Billeter

(b Italy, 1835; d Italy, after 1870).

Italian photographer, active in Argentina. An avid traveller, he visited India and China before opening a studio in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he worked from 1865 to 1870. He was among the first photographers to discover the beauty of the Argentine Pampa and to make portraits of its picturesque Gauchos. Through his photographic books, which were available on a subscription basis, the Pampa was opened up for tourists. In ...

Article

Kohtaro Iizawa

(b Tokyo, Dec 3, 1940).

Japanese photographer. He studied photography at Nihon University, Tokyo, also working at this time as a freelance photographer for the Light Publicity Company (1961–3). He made his real début as a photographer with his one-man shows Tanjō (‘Birth’) at the Nikon Salon in 1968 and Nudes, held at the Matsuzakaya Department Store, Tokyo, (1970), a series of nude portraits set against large-scale backgrounds of nature. After leaving Light Publicity in 1968, he began a successful career photographing subjects which ranged from portraits of pop stars to travel photographs of the Silk Road, capturing them with a fine expressive technique. His unique character and appearance made him a mass media star and he popularized the phrase gekisha (‘agitated shot’). His photographs of body tattoos (see 1979 exh. cat., pp. 117–21) combine an artistic eye with documentary photography, while recording particularly Japanese subject-matter.

Some of his most representative series include ...

Article

(b Komotau [now Chomutov, Czech Republic], Aug 6, 1839; d Vienna, Aug 12, 1911).

Austrian photographer and painter, active in Japan. He was a member of an aristocratic Austrian family. Although an experienced painter, he is known chiefly as a photographer, whose studio in Yokohama was immensely successful during the last quarter of the 19th century. Information on his formal training and his formative development as a photographer is sparse. He served as an officer, diplomat and reporter for the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and it is known that his travels to Asia, notably Siam (now Thailand) and China, were the staging-grounds for his first successful efforts in photography. It is probable that in these places he began to discern an interest by Europeans in Orientalia and realized the commercial potential of photographic representations of Asian ‘types’ and genre scenes of the region. Subsequently settling in Yokohama, he purchased the studio of the well-known photographer Felice Beato in 1877, and worked almost exclusively as a studio portrait photographer, producing thousands of images of the working classes, actors in the theatre, geishas and craftsmen, primarily for tourists visiting the city. He is perhaps best known for his photographic album book ...

Article

Kohtaro Iizawa

(b Tokyo, April 24, 1940).

Japanese photographer. He studied at the Tokyo College of Photography (1961–2). After graduating he photographed the performances of the theatrical troupe Tenjō sajiki (‘Upper balcony’) led by the playwright Shūji Terayama (1936–83). At this time he established a personal style of photography, taking scenes casually encountered in his travels or small incidents from life, caught with a haiku-like swiftness and precision. He received the Japan Photographic Society’s Newcomer’s Prize for the series Fūshi kaden (Tokyo, 1978), first published in Camera Mainichi magazine (1976–7). The title of this series, literally translated as ‘Figure of wind, transmission of flower’, is taken from the title of a treatise on the art of Nō by the famous actor and playwright Zeami Motokiyo (1363–1443) and indicates the depth of Suda’s concern for the traditions and people of Japan. Regional festivals, cherry blossom and bathing scenes at beaches became the subjects of his works; they are seen with an eye that notes the process of decline of old Japanese ways with affection. Another notable collection of images was published as ...

Article

Morgan Falconer

(b Tokyo, Feb 23, 1948).

Japanese photographer. In 1970 he studied politics and sociology at St. Paul’s University, Tokyo, before retraining as an artist and taking a BFA at the Art Center College of Art and Design, Los Angeles, CA, in 1972. He later settled in New York. Sugimoto has spoken of his work as an expression of ‘time exposed’, a theme evident in all the series of photographs he has produced, often simultaneously, throughout his career. His first series, Dioramas, evolved out of visits to the Museum of Natural History in New York. Fascinated by the old-fashioned dioramas on display there, Sugimoto shot them in finely detailed black and white, muting the original colours which were meant to make the scenes naturalistic. Excluding any suggestion that the images are drawn from fabrications, they appear strangely real, like impossible documentary photographs. The same is true of two series of works in Wax Museums: the first series comprised portraits of the museums’ famous figures—often movie stars such as Jean Harlow and Elizabeth Taylor—while the second series concentrated on grotesque tableaux, often from exhibits about famous crimes. Sugimoto’s fascination with conjuring life and death in the photograph is explored in different ways in two series shot in cinemas, ...

Article

Margaret Barlow

(b Los Angeles, Dec 7, 1923; d Baarlo, March 15, 2009).

American sculptor, photographer and film maker, active in the Netherlands. Born of Japanese parents, he received his first training in sculpture from the American sculptor Donal Hord (1902–66) in 1941. Following the attack on Pearl Harbor (on his 18th birthday) his family was sent to an internment camp, an experience that left scars more intense than his war wounds. To escape the camp, he joined a brother in the US army, and after demobilization he worked as an antiques restorer and from 1947 to 1948 studied at the Art Institute of Chicago. He moved to Paris in 1948 where he studied under Ossip Zadkine and in 1949 under Fernand Léger. In the latter year he came into contact with the Cobra group and exhibited with them at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. In 1950 he was one of the co-founders of the Galerie 8 in Paris and also studied at the Académie de la Grand Chaumière. Also in ...

Article

Ray McKenzie

(b Edinburgh, June 14, 1837; d London, Sept 30, 1921).

Scottish photographer and writer. After studying chemistry at Edinburgh University he settled on the island of Pinang, Malaysia, where he began practising as a professional photographer in 1862. Over the next 12 years he travelled extensively in the region, taking many photographs in Siam (now Thailand; see fig.), Cambodia, Vietnam and China. His subjects ranged from ethnography to antiquities, and his style is distinguished by the directness with which he represented landscapes and social practices that to his western contemporaries appeared almost fantastic. Despite acute difficulties of climate and terrain, he used the cumbersome wet collodion process, producing large-format (up to 360×480 mm) and stereographic negatives that are noted for their clarity of detail and richness of tone.

Unlike most travel photographers of his generation Thomson rarely exhibited his work, preferring the illustrated album as the medium best suited to his documentary approach. In all he produced nine such albums, varying widely both in format and reprographic process. The first, ...