Published by RM/Fundación Mapfre. Text by Juan Vicente Ariaga, Ryuichi Kaneko, Hiromi Kojima, Carlos Martín García.
"Shomei Tomatsu is the pivotal figure of recent Japanese photography." –John Szarkowski
Casting a cold eye on postwar Japan, the raw, grainy and impressionistic photography of Shomei Tomatsu practically defined Japanese photography in the second half of the 20th century, greatly influencing Daido Moriyama, Nobuyoshi Araki and Takuma Nakihara. His best-known images are his portraits of people and street scenes from the 1950s, when the country struggled to recover from World War II and US military presence was ubiquitous; his photographs of 1960s Japan; and throughout his career, his images of Okinawa, where he died in 2012. Tomatsu's most famous single photograph is probably Melted Bottle, Nagasaki, 1961, which depicts a beer bottle rendered grotesquely biomorphic by the nuclear blast that devastated Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. The American photographer and writer Leo Rubinfien described Tomatsu's Nagasaki images as "sad, haggard facts," noting that "beneath the surface there was a grief so great that any overt expression of sympathy would have been an insult."
This book, which accompanies a major retrospective at MAPFRE in Barcelona, elucidates the rich visual universe of Tomatsu, including his best-known images and previously unpublished work. It is the first comprehensive survey to be published since his death.
Born in Nagoya, Japan, Shomei Tomatsu (1930–2012) began his career in the early 1950s as a traditional photojournalist. He played a central role in Vivo, a self-managed photography agency, and founded the publishing house Shaken and the quarterly journal Ken. Tomatsu participated in the groundbreaking New Japanese Photography exhibition in 1974 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; his most recent US survey, The Skin of the Nation, was held at SFMOMA in 2006.
Published by Aperture. Edited by Leo Rubinfien, John Junkerman. Text by Leo Rubinfien, Shomei Tomatsu.
One of Japan’s foremost twentieth-century photographers, Shomei Tomatsu has created a defining portrait of postwar Japan. Beginning with his meditation on the devastation caused by the atomic bombs in 11:02 Nagasaki, Tomatsu focused on the tensions between traditional Japanese culture and the nation’s growing Westernization, most notably in his seminal book Nihon. Beginning in the late 1950s, Tomatsu photographed as many of the American military bases as possible--beginning with those on the main island of Japan and ending in Okinawa, a much-contested archipelago off the southernmost tip of the country. Tomatsu’s photographs focused on the seismic impact of the American victory and occupation: uniformed American soldiers carousing in red-light districts with Japanese women; foreign children at play in the seedy landscape of cities like Yokosuka and Atsugi; and the emerging protest- and counter-culture formed in response to the ongoing American military presence. He originally named this series Occupation, but later retitled it Chewing Gum and Chocolate to reflect the handouts given to Japanese kids by the soldiers--sugary and addictive, but lacking in nutritional value. And although many of his most iconic images are from this series, the best of this work has never before been gathered together in a single volume. Leo Rubinfien, co-curator of the photographer’s survey Skin of the Nation, contributes an essay that engages with Tomatsu’s ambivalence toward the American occupation and the shifting national identity of Japan. Also included in this volume are never-before-translated writings by Tomatsu from the 1960s and 70s, providing context for both the artist’s original intentions and the sociopolitical thinking of the time. Shomei Tomatsu (1930–2012) played a central role in Vivo, a self-managed photography agency, and founded the publishing house Shaken and the quarterly journal Ken. He participated in the groundbreaking New Japanese Photography exhibition in 1974 at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and, in 2011, the Nagoya City Art Museum featured Tomatsu Shomei: Photographs, a comprehensive survey of his work.
BOOK FORMAT Clth, 10 x 12 in. / 216 pgs / 125 duotone.
PUBLISHING STATUS Pub Date 5/31/2014 No longer our product
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PRODUCT DETAILS ISBN 9781597112505TRADE List Price: $80.00 CDN $95.00