Photographic collection reveals 19th century Japan
The works of a forgotten photographer – who helped introduce photography to the country and which reveal a previously little-known Japan to the world – has been published.
A Career of Japan by Dr Luke Gartlan, lecturer in the School of Art History at the University of St Andrews, is the first comprehensive study of one of the major photographers and personalities of nineteenth-century Japan.
Austro-Hungarian Baron Raimund von Stillfried is regarded as the most important foreign-born photographer of the Meiji era in Japan (late 19th century), and one of the first globally active photographers of his generation.
His work is now compiled in a new collection of tantalising images which reveals the everyday people and places of the era, such as meal times and shops, as well as portraits of soldiers, fire fighters, and even the photographer in his studio.
Author Dr Gartlan said: “Baron Raimund von Stillfried played a key role in the international image of Japan and the adoption of photography within Japanese society itself. Yet, the lack of a thorough study of his activities, travels, and work has been a fundamental gap in both Japanese and Western-language scholarship.”
The new book uses extensive new primary sources and unpublished documents from archives around the world, to examine von Stillfried’s significance as a cultural mediator between Japan and Central Europe.
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