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Photographer unknown, "Tsuneko Sasamoto, Tokyo" (1940), inkjet print, printed 2020, 18.2 x 18.2 cm (7 3/16 x 7 3/16 in.), Tsuneko
Sasamoto / Japan Professional Photographers Society.

‘The New Woman Behind the Camera’ opens at The Met

This unaccredited photograph of Tsuneko Sasamoto, Japan's first female photojournalist, in Tokyo, 1940, is reproduced from The New Woman Behind the Camera, published to accompany the exhibition of game-changing international female photographers, 1920–1950, opening this week at The Metropolitan Museum of Art.⁠ In her short biography of the artist at the end of the book, Kara Felt writes: "Discouraged by her family from studying painting, Sasamoto shifted to illustration and sewing-pattern design. In 1940 she met Kenichi Hayashi, head of the photo agency Japan Photo Library. Inspired by magazine illustrations she saw in Hayashi’s office and the prospect of becoming Japan’s first female photojournalist, Sasamoto accepted his offer to join the agency. Over the next year she photographed envoys, including members of the Hitler-Jugend (Hitler Youth), as well as schools, festivals, children, and young women learning farming techniques. After the war, Sasamoto worked for the Tokyo newspaper Fujin Minshu Shimbunsha. By 1947 she was undertaking magazine commissions and her own projects, such as picturing the imperial prince. Sasamoto photographed fashion and recorded the aftermath of the war, including the US occupation of Japan. In 1950 she became a charter member of the Nihon Shashinka Kyōkai (Japan Professional Photographers Society). She gained renown for her portraits, whose subjects ranged from artists and writers to the wives of striking coal miners. By the late 1960s Sasamoto had stopped photographing. She resumed at age 71, when she revisited her series on remarkable women born during the Meiji and early Showa eras.”

Photographer unknown, "Tsuneko Sasamoto, Tokyo" (1940), inkjet print, printed 2020, 18.2 x 18.2 cm (7 3/16 x 7 3/16 in.), Tsuneko Sasamoto / Japan Professional Photographers Society.

The New Woman Behind the Camera

The New Woman Behind the Camera

National Gallery of Art
Hbk, 9.75 x 11.75 in. / 288 pgs / 8 color / 269 b&w.

$60.00  free shipping

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