The essence of typical “Japanese photography” does not exist. As Westerners, we find it sufficient to define all work produced by the Japan’s photo community as simply “Japanese photography”. This shows the lack of understanding. We are mistaken when we use a nationality to define photography. Ihei Kimura, the master of photojournalism in Japan, shouldn’t be linked with Henri Cartier-Bresson while Daido Moriyama and Eikoh Hosoe should never be linked to Ed van der Elsken. Would it be enough to call the work of Robert Mapplethorpe, Ansel Adams and Philip Lorca Dicorsia simply ‘American Photography’? Certainly not. Even though Japanese photography does not exist, Japanese photographers do: they take pictures and most of them also write. All contributing photographers in ‘Setting Sun: writings by Japanese photographers’ have produced substantial bodies of written work that forms an essential counterpart to their visual art. The book, published under the direction of Annes Wilkes Tucker, is an anthology of key texts written from the ‘50s to the present by Moriyama, Tomatsu, and Araki, as well as by other leading Japanese photographers, including Masahisa Fukase, Takashi Homma, Eikoh Hosoe, Takuma Nakahira and Hiroshi Sugimoto. ‘Setting Sun, Writings by Japanese photographers’ constitutes a very good and unique introduction to the theory of photographers who live in Japan.
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