Katsura (1981-82)  ©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 12

The Beautiful Simplicity of the Katsura Imperial Villa The stage this time is Japan. One of Ishimoto’s most representative set of works is the “Katsura” series of photographs of the Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto. The airy rhythms that shoji screens and tatami mats create in the soft light; the multiple straight lines of the roofs’ edges; the modernist style expressed through lines and surfaces; the delicate arrangement of steppingstones… Encountering this set of photographs that highlight the appeal of

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Chicago, Town (around 1960)  ©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 11

The Final Years in Chicago “Half a year after returning to America, Shigeru (Ishimoto’s wife) found employment at S.H. Mori’s gallery selling works of Japanese arts and crafts, while I started working as a photographer. With the Minolta SR1 over my shoulder, and usually about ten rolls of film in my pockets, I was crisscrossing the city of Chicago from one end to the other.” (Asahi Camera, 1962) During the second period of Ishimoto’s stay in Chicago between 1959 and

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Chicago, Snow and Car (around 1950)
©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 10

Chicago Snow Designs In the proliferating Japanese cities where architecture happens randomly and regardless of how a building integrates into its environment, and everyone puts up giant billboards for himself in order to stand out, urban planning is largely unrelated to aesthetic aspects. To the eyes of foreigners, the cities built on the principle of not adopting any principle seem to look rather interesting as uniquely novel Japanese urban landscapes. Even sceneries that are normally an eyesore naturally turn into

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Chicago, Town (around 1960)
©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 9

Codes in Photographs Grouped around two men in the center, the crowd in this picture hold their breath as they gaze at a certain point. The photograph is charged with a sense of tension that suggests that something is about to happen this very moment, whereas the massive pillar that marks the central element here pushes the tension further up. What is it that these men are staring at? A hint can be found painted on the pillar. As you

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Chicago, Town (1959-61)
©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 8

Lights and Shadows of Chicago The Ishimotos’ wedding anniversary was at the end of last month (October). As they married in 1954, they would have celebrated their golden wedding last year (2004). Matchmakers between the couple were ikebana artist Sofu Teshigawara and architect Kenzo Tange, and their wedding reception was held at the International House of Japan in Tokyo, organized by members of the Japan Design Committee of which Ishimoto was a founding member as well. The collection of private

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Chicago, Halloween (1959-61)
©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 7

Children at Halloween The photograph introduced in the previous installment of this series shows a girl playing at a park. The girl is tied to a tree, and to many it obviously looked as if she was being abused. Children are sometimes ruthless and cruel. It probably was some kind of game in which brave boys would free the captured heroine. Children’s games are changing with the times (in different ways depending on the country). Yasuhiro Ishimoto used to play

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Chicago, Little Ones
1948-50
©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 6

Between Two Countries As this year (2005) marked the 60th anniversary of the end of the war, various media had put together special programs reviewing the war. NHK’s “Shin-Nichiyo Bijutsukan” (“Sunday Museum”) did a showcase of internationally renowned sculptor Isamu Noguchi’s work. The program shed light on the issue that his plans for the Hiroshima Peace Memorial were rejected for the simple reason that he was American. The cenotaph for the A-bomb victims was eventually made by Kenzo Tange, and

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Chicago, North Avenue Beach
1948-52
©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 5

North Avenue Beach One of the Chicagoans’ favorite leisure activities in summer is swimming in the lake. Chicago is located in the inland region and therefore remote from the seashore, so their beach is at Lake Michigan, one of the five Great Lakes. Covering an area of 58,000km2 (about 90 times that of Lake Biwa), Lake Michigan is not only the sixth biggest lake in the world, but it also has beautiful sandy beaches. When standing on the lake’s edge,

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Chicago, Little Ones
c.1960
©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 4

Black People’s Quarters in Chicago Every year between June and August, Chicago turns into a stage for a variety of blues and jazz festivals such as the Chicago Blues Festival, the world’s biggest admission-free blues festival that has been attracting hordes of blues fans to the city. The event offers an extensive program of blues performed by musicians ranging from amateurs to professionals, and even though black music styles tend to be associated with the southern states, Chicago has turned

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Chicago, Town 
1959-61
©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 3

The New Bauhaus The Chicago Institute of Design (aka New Bauhaus) was established in Chicago in 1937. The faculty consisted of a number of leading figures in the realms of modern architecture and photography, such as photographers Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind, as well as architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Buckminster Fuller, creator of the Fuller Dome. Ishimoto studied here from 1948 until 1952. In addition to the Photography department, the New Bauhaus had Design, Architecture

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