SHASHINZO by Hitoshi Tsukiji [RARE / SIGNED]
日本人写真家、築地仁の写真集「写真像」。写真史家・金子隆一や写真家・島尾伸三、谷口雅と共に、自分たちを含めた写真集シリーズを刊行する「場」として1979年に立ち上げたCAMERA WORKSより1984年に刊行。写真表現の「構造」に焦点を当てた29点の作品を収録。この29点の収録作品は、作者がCAMERA WORKSメンバーの金子隆一、本書を始め、築地仁の全ての作品集のデザインを手掛ける装丁家の菊地信義と共に約1年間、毎月集まりセレクトを何度も繰り返した結果として残ったもので、作者曰く「これ以上のない」構成となっている。
Tsukiji, who had learned much from photographic trends in Europe and the U.S., opposed emotional photographs that merely explained and portrayed their subjects, which in turn provided the images’ history, narrative, and event. In 1975, he self-published Vertical, (DOMAIN) to pursue expressions unique to the photographic medium. The works in this book, which were collected with the attitude that photographs can only capture a limited range of phenomena, exuded an interest in and desire to propose how photographs might take note of and visualize the world within the medium’s limitations. Uniquely formatted as a series of gatefolds, the book documents the photographer’s ocular responses to the pulses of things in circular form.
In the latter half of the 1970s, young “post-Provoke” photographers started independent galleries and magazines to create and disseminate “photographs of our own generation.” Through the independently operated Photo Gallery Prism, launched in Shinjuku, Tsukiji became acquainted with Ryuichi Kaneko, Shinzo Shimao and Miyabi Taniguchi. Along with them, Tsukiji established CAMERA WORKS as a place to publish a series of photobooks including those compiling their own works. The project, however, was never realized and the booklet camera works tokyo was published in the interim. Originally focused on the translation and interpretation of photographic theory, the magazine eventually featured the works not only of its founders, but also of other next-generation photographers, and thereby transformed the notion of photographic education into practice. At the time, many photographers who presented their works at independent galleries and magazines, later called “independent photographers,” privileged methodology in the process of going against the original foundations of photographic expression, hence diminishing the scale of their expressions. Tsukiji, however, used the theoretical applications carried out in CAMERA WORKS and the context of structuralist theory, which had then become widespread in Japan, to strengthen the conceptual basis of his works. His 1984 publication Shashinzo focused on the structure of photographic expression.
What I wanted to do in “Shashinzo” was to clarify the “structure” of photographs. The “structure” comprises layers of epidermises of photographic expression, combining the character and content of the subject, light and shadow, texture and detail, reality, site, and the moment. Illuminating the structural facets of my photographic expression was an important concept in “Shashinzo” series. I would like to represent the conceptual structure and the essence of consciousness in photography. - Hitoshi Tsukiji, December 2016
These images, which Tsukiji made with penetrating perspective and superior technique while roaming the city with a 6×6 camera, display restrained textures of light and dark, uniquely beautiful compositions, and a heightened materiality conveyed through the form, volume, quality, and color of the delicate gelatin silver prints. This series aimed to use photographs to deconstruct and map out the pure, essential elements of the medium: The qualia and sensibility conveyed by the photographic subject; the subjective recognition of the world; the “why here now” of photography; photographic beauty as it is manifested in the fluctuation and shifting of signs; and the photographers’ and viewers’ mental structure.