Masahisa Fukase - The Solitude of Ravens, 1970s-1980s
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"Masahisa Fukase was born in Hokkaido, Japan in 1934. In 1952 he enrolled in the Photography Department of Nihon University in Tokyo. After graduation in 1956 he was hired at Dai-Ichi Advertising Company, where he began working as a commercial photographer while he pursued his artistic career. Two solo exhibitions followed in quick succession. 1974 marked several important events in Fukase’s life. He established a photography school called The Workshop with his colleagues Shomei Tomatsu, Eiko Hosoe, Noriaki Yokosuka, Daido Moriyama and Nobuyoshi Araki. The same year, his work was included in the exhibition New Japanese Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, curated by John Szarkowski and Shoji Yamagishi. Despite these professional accomplishments, his unstable marriage of the past ten years had begun to dissolve; he returned to his birthplace of Hokkaido seeking solace. At this time, Fukase began to photograph the black birds that would become emblematic of his finest work. Sadly, on June 20, 1992 a severe accident prematurely ended Fukase’s artistic career. Although he was among a generation of young Japanese artists struggling with the constraints of their society, Fukase strayed from the cultural concerns and nihilistic expressionism of his colleagues, focusing instead on a deeply personal meditation on human existence. The somber beauty of his raven photographs reflect his lonely, troubled life and reveal his appreciation of the defiant isolation of these creatures.” [Robert Mann Gallery]
Image source: Robert Mann Gallery, Photo Tractatus