Japan's Modern Divide: The Photographs of Hiroshi Hamaya and Kansuke Yamamoto

Japan's Modern Divide: The Photographs of Hiroshi Hamaya and Kansuke Yamamoto

  • Edited by Judith Keller and Amanda Maddox

    With contributions by Kōtarō Iizawa, Ryūichi Kaneko, and Jonathan Reynolds

    In the 1930s the history of Japanese photography evolved in two very different directions: one toward documentary photography, the other favoring an experimental, or avant-garde, approach strongly influenced by Western Surrealism. This book explores these two strains of modern Japanese photography through the work of two remarkable figures: Hiroshi Hamaya and Kansuke Yamamoto.

    Hiroshi Hamaya (1915–1999) was born and raised in Tokyo and, after an initial period of creative experimentation, turned his attention to recording traditional life and culture on the coast of the Sea of Japan. In 1940 he began photographing the New Year’s rituals in a remote village, which was published as Yukiguni (Snow country). He went on to record cultural changes in China, political protests in Japan, and landscapes around the world.

    Kansuke Yamamoto (1914–1987) became fascinated by the innovative approaches in art and literature exemplified by such Western artists as Man Ray, René Magritte, and Yves Tanguy. He promoted Surrealist and avant-garde ideas in Japan through his poetry, paintings, sculptures, and photographs.

    Along with essays by the book’s coeditors, Judith Keller and Amanda Maddox, are essays by Kōtarō Iizawa, Ryūichi Kaneko, and Jonathan M. Reynolds, life chronologies, and a selection of poems by Yamamoto translated by John Solt. This book, which features more than one hundred images, accompanies an exhibition of the same name on view at the J. Paul Getty Museum from March 26 to August 25, 2013.

    Judith Keller is senior curator in the Department of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum. She is the author of Jo Ann Callis: Woman Twirling (Getty, 2009); Walker Evans: The Getty Collection (Getty, 1995); and Graciela Iturbide: Juchitán (Getty, 2008). Amanda Maddox is assistant curator in the Department of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Kōtarō Iizawa is a photography historian, critic, and curator based in Tokyo. Ryūichi Kaneko is a photography historian and guest curator at the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. Jonathan M. Reynolds is associate professor of art history at Barnard College.

    224 pages
    9 1/2 x 11 inches
    105 color and 40 b/w illustrations
    ISBN 978-1-60606-132-9
    hardcover

    Getty Publications
    Imprint: J. Paul Getty Museum

    2013
    This exhibition catalog celebrates two forerunning Japanese image makers: Hiroshi Hamaya, who artfully documented everything from daily street life to volcanic eruptions; and Kansuke Yamamoto, who took photographic surrealism into wild new realms long before Photoshop.


    Named one of the best photo books of the year  American Photo Magazine


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