Shin Yanagisawa - Untitled

November 19, 2018

Shin Yanagisawa

As I mentionned, Yanagisawa did not published many books in his life. This one is a retrospective of his work. The concept is interesting, basically we follow him as he goes through Japan starting from the North then going step by step to the South.


We have mostly landscapes here, sometimes urban landscapes when he goes to big cities throug his journey but also everyday scenes of human life. We could almost call it street photography in the documenting aspect of it; not the funny one (even some of his pictures are made with humor).

He's shooting black and white, like many of his fellow compatriots. Hence they are creating this kind of traditionnal school of Japanese photographers (e.g. please see the the work of Shunji Dodo, Horizon Far and Away 1968-1977). This school had a strong influence on my own works. As since from then I decided to only shoot mostly black and white, trying to depict sometimes the life here of japanese people, but I am more  portrait oriented; that's may be the big difference, but I am not sure as they are so many japanese photographers from the 50s/60s/70s that I don't know yet still properly the work (e.g. Issei Suda).

As mentionned, his journey brings him form the north of Japan  (Hokkaido) to the south (Okinawa), passing through the major cities, Tokyo, Osaka. But most of his portraits of documenting the life of people during his trip are the most significant. Frankly put together, you can feel a real consistency in his approach/view of the lives of the people he met during his trip. And they are very interesting, you can feel the love this guy has for his country of course not everything is perfect in this/his world, but he just show everything so we can also fall in love with these people he has met or this lansscapes he has seen.

The atmosphere of the book is really magical to me; a mix between nostalagia, and documentation, for which the flavor is really simple but never simplistic. Many pictures are iconic to me and makes the book even more classical in its genre. A really true "must-have" for anyone interested into Japanese photographic culture and even for the others as it is a great way to enter in the world of the photographer of his era.