Issei Suda: 78

Issei Suda: 78

The genesis of the photobook “78” began in January 2019, shortly before Issei Suda’s death, when Cécile Poimboeuf-Koizumi (of French publisher Chose Commune) contacted Suda regarding the publication of a new book. Suda died before the project could be discussed in detail; instead, Poimboeuf-Koizumi was allowed access to Suda’s archive in November 2019, filled with countless yet unpublished photographs. Poimboeuf-Koizumi made a selection in a single day, choosing 78 images taken in Tokyo and surrounding prefectures between 1971 and 1983.

The photographs are yet another reminder of Suda’s unparalleled skill and aesthetic sensibilities as a photographer. His trademark deep and contrast-rich black-and-white photos of varied subjects – from portraits to street signs or flowers – paint the world with humor and Suda’s human spirit, adding a hint of strangeness and otherworldliness to familiar everyday scenes.

In this book, Suda’s unique and profoundly urban vision unfolds in a series of contrasts and allusions. The unexpected presence of animals and children’s mischievous looks fill up the streets, adding a sense of strangeness to these everyday scenes. From Tokyo to its surrounding prefectures, the photographer’s striking world is immersed in urban energy, bringing out – with a hint of humor – its spirit. The same energy can also be found in Suda’s trademark deep and contrasted blacks, a unique hallmark of his work.

“His vision, quirky and with a touch of humor, focused primarily on urban settings inhabited by children whose rules of play seem to baffle the world of adults. The everyday becomes mysterious, the mundane feels exceptional. It was only upon our return to France that I realized Suda had passed away at 78, the exact number of prints we had intuitively selected on that autumn afternoon. This book is a tribute to the great photographer he was.” (from Cécile Poimboeuf-Koizumi’s afterword)

About the Author

Japanese, b. 1940
Since the late 1960s, Issei Suda has been photographing art and life in black-and-white images that reveal the close connection between the real and the surreal.

A portrait of Issei Suda

He began his career in the theater, documenting the avant-garde group Tenjo Sajiki. In 1971, he began traveling throughout Japan, capturing people on city streets and at traditional festivals, and the patterns and textures he would find in his surroundings. These travels have resulted in such celebrated series as “Fushi Kaden” (1978) and “Human Memory” (1996), full of extraordinary, surprising, and surreal moments that Suda has an uncanny knack for pinpointing with his camera. His approach is shaped by his experience in the theater, Noh philosophy, and the “Kompora” photography movement, with its focus on the everyday and the ordinary, which, as Suda reveals in his work, is full of wonder and strangeness. (via Artsy.net)


Hardcover: 128 pages, 78 photographs
Publisher: Chose Commune (1 April 2020)
Language: French/ English / Japanese
Size: 11.2 x 9.5 x 0.7 inches
Weight: 1.9 pounds
ISBN-13: 979-1096383160

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