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November 6, 2022

25 Fascinating Vintage Black and White Photos Documented Life in Japan From the 1970s to 1980s

Issei Suda (24 April 1940 – 7 March 2019) received his first camera, a Rolleiflex, from his father when he entered the Tokyo College of Photography, from which he graduated in 1962. In 1967 Suda began work as the stage and publicity photographer for Tenjo Sajiki, an underground theatre troupe directed by poet-playwright Terayama Shuji. The troupe sought to express the mysterious side of everyday life, a theme that Suda continued to pursue after beginning his freelance career in 1971. His work began to appear in photography magazines, earning him early recognition in Japan and abroad.

Suda always sought the balance between inner and outer worlds and strived to capture the extraordinary that existed within the ordinary. In his pictures we would find age-old festivals, grandmas, bonsais, bicycles, billowing kimonos, chugging chimneys and yakuza members. For Suda, the clash between tradition and modernity, artificial and natural, was not a source of tension, but the new reality.

In the words of Charles A. Hartman, Suda’s gallerist in the United States: “Suda’s work captures a bygone world that was simultaneously more open and less suspicious of the photographer’s gaze. His pictures construct an extended portrait of both time and place that is compelling and curious, eccentric and beautiful.”

(via AnOther Magazine, Ibasho Gallery)


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