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[Image](Left) Karuizawa, Nagano, 1982  /  (Right) Mishima, Shizuoka, 1984 Photograph by Suda Issei ©SUDA ISSEI Works

The Camera on Two Legs
Suda Issei: Landscapes of Japan, Margins of the City

FUJIFILM SQUARE Photo History Museum Photo Exhibition

September 29 – December 28, 2022 (The exhibition closes at 16:00 on the final day)

PHOTO HISTORY MUSEUM

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Highlights

  • Suda Issei is one of the leading photographers in Japan in the postwar period internationally acclaimed for snapshots that capture an offbeat world concealed inside everyday life. This is an exhibition of his works.
  • This exhibition presents about thirty newly printed color photographs carefully selected from Suda's 1986 exhibition: landscape of Japan, Margins of the City, at the Fuji Photo Salon (Ginza, Tokyo), the predecessor of FUJIFILM SQUARE.
  • We hope you will enjoy the parallel universe in everyday life made visible through the lens of Suda Issei, the camera on two legs.

About the exhibition

The FUJIFILM SQUARE Photo History Museum is pleased to present an exhibition of works by Suda Issei, one of the leading photographers in Japan in the postwar period.

Suda Issei (1940–2019) is internationally acclaimed for snapshots that capture an offbeat world concealed inside everyday life. His photographic expression has a strong impact on the viewer with its matter-of-fact yet mysterious exploration of things in a body of work that includes the early masterpiece Fushi Kaden. Even after he passed away in 2019, a series of posthumous photo exhibitions and publications have opened up opportunities to reevaluate his work at home and abroad.

This exhibition presents about thirty newly printed color photographs carefully selected from Suda's 1986 exhibition, Landscape of Japan, Margins of the City, at the Fuji Photo Salon Professional Space (Ginza, Tokyo), the predecessor of FUJIFILM SQUARE. An unsung masterpiece, the exhibition features mysterious scenes across Japan from his own Kanda neighborhood in Tokyo to Ueno and Asakusa, as well as Karuizawa and Hakone. The images were captured between 1982 and 1986 using a 6x6 medium format camera loaded with color-positive film. At the time, Suda wrote the following statement to accompany the exhibition.

Sometimes I would leave Tokyo where the function of the landscape had become ossified and I would travel where the road took me. Unfamiliar areas, beautiful scenery, impressive historical buildings. However, it was always the mundane scenes I came across that made me stop. The transitory and idiosyncratic spaces in my surroundings suddenly stood out. On my journeys, the everyday seemed distorted with a kind of intensity that scratched at my eyes with a raw sharpness and tried to obstruct my gaze on the existing landscape.
Assuming that beautiful views of famous places and sightseeing areas are “the light,” then my archetypal images are perhaps “the shadows” of everyday life thrown onto the same surfaces.

What Suda saw through his lens in each of these places is not the usual beautiful landscape, but unremarkable sights and moments that have, in a manner of speaking, been pushed to the margins. However, the images that he picked out are filled with a sense of tension that appears to expose the reverse side of familiar things, the true nature concealed deep within. At the same time, the images reveal the essence of photography as an expression of personal visual experience.

Thinking about photography around the clock, Suda kept taking pictures as he walked the streets, never letting go of his camera even for an instant, shamelessly and reflexively pressing the shutter. He did not look like a professional photographer, but like someone possessed by photography, someone whose whole body had become a camera. He had become “a camera on two legs.”

We hope you will enjoy the parallel universe in everyday life made visible through the lens of Suda Issei, the camera on two legs.

Profile of the Photographer

Suda Issei (1940 – 2019)

Suda Issei was born in Kanda, Tokyo, in 1940 and graduated from the Tokyo College of Photography in 1962. From 1967 to 1970, he worked as a stage photographer for the experimental theater group Tenjo Sajiki led by Terayama Shuji before turning to freelance work in 1971. In 1976, Suda was awarded the Photographic Society of Japan Newcomer's Award for Fushi Kaden. In 1983, he was granted the Photographic Society of Japan Annual Award for, among others, the photo exhibition Monogusa shui. In 1985, he took home the inaugural Domestic Photographer Award at the Higashikawa Awards for Fragment of Everyday Life. In 1997, he was awarded the 16th Domon Ken Award for the photo collection Human Memory (CREO, 1996). From 2001 to 2013, Suda operated the Suda Issei Juku workshop, and, in 2014, he was awarded the Photographic Society of Japan Lifetime Achievement Award. Suda Issei passed away at age 78 in 2019. In the same year, he won the 31st Society of Photography Special Award for Fragment of Everyday Life (Seigensha Art Publishing, 2018). Since his death, a series of posthumous photo exhibitions and publications have opened up opportunities to reevaluate his work at home and abroad.

Exhibition overview

Title FUJIFILM SQUARE Photo History Museum Photo Exhibition
The Camera on Two Legs
Suda Issei: Landscapes of Japan, Margins of the City
Dates September 29 – December 28, 2022
Time 10:00 - 19:00
(The exhibition closes at 16:00 on the final day. Last admission is ten minutes before closing.)
Open every day
Venue Photo History Museum, FUJIFILM SQUARE
Admission Free

* This is a Mecenat exhibition and is open to the general public for free.

Number of works approx. 30 works
Organizer FUJIFILM Corporation
Supervisor SUDA ISSEI Works
Planning Photo Classic
Support Minato City Board of Education

* This exhibition may be cancelled or rescheduled for unavoidable circumstances. Visit FUJIFILM SQUARE online or call for updates.

PHOTO HISTORY MUSEUM

~ History of Photography — more than 170 years ~

Not many museums focus on the historical evolution of the photographic arts and cameras like you will discover here. More than 170 years of history are recounted through exhibits of antique cameras and Fujifilm products, as well as periodic exhibitions of historically significant photos. You will revel at how photography has transitioned over the years.

MECENAT
In 2022, The FUJIFILM SQUARE Photo History Museum was recognized by the Association for Corporate Support of the Arts for “contributions to society through the promotion of arts and culture” and has been authorized to use the “THIS IS MECENAT 2022” logo.