Description: pictorialist view
of Shinzo and Roso Fukuhara during a photo excursion
to Yoshinogawa (Yoshino River) in Nara Prefecture.
This print also contains a verso inscription in an
unknown hand that reads: “Yoshinogawa,
Ibuka Akira satsue, migi futarime Fukuhara Roso, shomen,
Fukuhara Shinzo”. Translation: Yoshino
River taken by Akira Ibuka, second person from right
is Roso Fukuhara, center is Shinzo Fukuhara”.
This image is printed on Oriental Opal paper, the preferred
paper used by the Fukuharas, the Shiseido Photographic
Department and Akira Ibuka.
Detail image of photograph.
Condition: quite good
(for specifics, please contact us).
Akira Ibuka (1903 -1978):
Ibuka was born in Muroran, Hokkaido in 1903. In his
late teens he studied precision machinery at the Tokyo-Furitsu
Kogei Gakko (Tokyo Prefectural Industrial School),
where he graduated in 1922. It is not known how long
he studied there, but during this same period he worked
as a staff photographer for Mitsukoshi Department Store’s
photography department (shashin-bu). In 1921 he entered
a photo concours in Tokyo organized by Shashin Geijutsu-sha,
a photographic art society that was the precursor to
the Nihon Shashin-kai (Japan Photographic Society or
JSP). It was during this photo competition that his
talent caught the eye of Shinzo Fukuhara, the principal
member and patron of this group.
Upon graduation from trade school, Ibuka was hired
by the photographic supply company Konishiroku Honten
(forerunner of Konica Corp. ), where he worked in the
machinery department as a camera technician. But his
employment at Konishiroku only lasted a year and in
1923 was recruited by Shiseido’s photo equipment
department (shashinki-bu) to work again as a camera
technician. Soon after entering Shisiedo, Ibuka became
a personal aide and protégé of Shinzo
Fukuhara and accompanied him on numerous photo excursions
around Japan. He quickly moved up the ranks to become
the director of Shiseido’s Design Department,
where he remained for over two decades.
Ibuka brought with him new styles of photography and
concepts that were influential to Shiseido’s
design team. During the 1930s he continued to employ
cutting edge design principles which was evident in
Shiseido publications. He left Shiseido it 1946, but
continued his career as a commercial photographer.
In 1949, the year following Shinzo’s death, Ibuka
founded his own firm, the Ibuka Shogyo Shashin Kenkyu-jo
(Ibuka Commercial Photographic Laboratory). From the
mid 1950s he published the photography books; “Shogyo
Shashin Jitsu” (Commercial
Photographic Technique), and “Shiki no Shashin
Jitsu” (Four Seasons Photographic Technique).
In addition to the many Shiseido promotional campaigns
he was published in, his work appeared regularly in
Japanese photography journals from the 1920s to the
1950s. He was also a ranking member of the Nihon Shashin-kai.
In 1966 Ibuka was appointed dean of the Nihon Shashin
Semon Gakkuin, a photography college that exists to
this day (now Tokyo Kogei Daigaku or Tokyo Institute
of Polytechnics). Ibuka was also recognized for his
close relationship to the Fukuhara brothers and was
called upon at times to advise on posthumous publications
and exhibitions. He also printed from the Fukuhara
negatives for these projects, an honor only bestowed
upon one other photographer, Tadashi Murabayashi. His
last salute to his mentor was a personal account on
the Fukuhara brothers published in the 1977 edition
of “Hikari to Sono Kaicho” (Light and it’s
Harmony). Ibuka died in 1978 at age 76.