Photography in Japan 1853-1912

Scenes from Kyoto, Sannenzaka and Fushimi Inari

I was asked recently whether I would like to introduce a book detailing the history of Japanese photography from the period 1853-1912. The book is a recent publication by Tuttle Publishing which gives quite an in depth and amazing look into both the photography at the time and also the photographers behind the scenes. As may be expected the first photographers tended to be foreigners to Japan who brought with them the early camera models.

Photography in Japan

Having lived in Japan for a long time, I was interested to think of what life must have been like as a foreigner back in late 1800’s pointing an unusual box type device at people and asking them to say “cheese”. On a literal level, it seems not must may have changed with smartphones being the new devices, but looking at the history and stories in the book, you can really begin to understand how different things were.

Photography in Japan

A lot of the book does cover the history of early photographers and many of the photos are portraits rather than landscapes. Not knowing all of the characters may perhaps make it hard to read from cover to cover, but as a coffee table book that can be picked up by guests and used as a discussion point, it is a wonderful in depth resource. Every time I open the book at a random page, I find something new to think about.

Scenes from Kyoto, Sannenzaka and Fushimi Inari
Scenes from Kyoto Sannenzaka and Fushimi Inari

I have included a few photos from the book as a simple guide and also a link for those who may be interested in purchasing it. I am not affiliated with the author, Terry Bennett, or with Tuttle Publishing, but am grateful for them giving me the opportunity to take a look at the book and review it.

Photography in Japan

Link on Amazon to soft copy version

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