Photo by an associate
of Shinzo Fukuhara and ranking member of the Nihon
Shashin-kai (Japan Photographic Society).
Description: pictorialist image of
Temple in Kyoto, founded in 798 and now a
UNESCO World Heritage site. This view shows the temple's
middle courtyard. At left is the Kyo-do or Sutra Hall.
This is where the temple's Buddhist Sutras are stored.
In the center is the Todoroki-mon or Reverberation
Gate, and just behind it is the Tamura-do or Founder's
Hall which enshrines a statue of Tamuramaro, the founder
of the temple.
Attribution: An inscription on the
reverse of the print in an unknown hand reads: Taisho
nenkan Fukuhara Shinzo satsue. The translation of this
is: Taken by Shinzo Fukuhara during the Taisho period.
However, this is a mistaken attribution apparently
done years later as this same image was published
in Nihon Shashin Kai Kaiho (Japan Photographic Society
Bulletin) in the May, 1931 issue (Volume 10, No. 5)
which credits the photo to Kanichiro Shimada (see page
example below). The magazine also provides the title:
Asa no Kiyomizu (Morning at Kiyomizu).
Condition: there's a small patch of blemishes in the
upper left margin. Other than that, overall this print
is in good condition.
Shimada was born in Tokyo in 1904. It is not known
how he received his photographic training, but by the
late 1920s he had become one of the leading art photographers
in Tokyo. In his early days, Shimada was a pictorialist
who specialized in scenics. In 1927 he became a member
of the Purezanto Shashin Club which was founded in
Tokyo in 1921. The president of this photo club was
Kiyoshi Nishiyama and Purezanto occasionally held exhibitions
at the Shiseido Gallery in Tokyo.
Shinzo Fukuhara, the founder of this gallery recognized
the talent of this group and invited Nishiyama and
other Purezanto members to join the Nihon Shashin-kai
or Japan Photographic Society (JPS). This society was
founded in 1924 by Fukuhara and was considered an elite
group. Shimada became a member and by the late 1920s
was receiving citations and gaining notoriety. This
was evident in a 1929 annual concours held by the society
that prominently displayed Shimada's work. This led
to his work being published in such photo magazines
as; Shashin Shinpo, the Japan Photographic Annual of
1931-1932, and Nihon Shashin-kai Kaiho (see below).
Shimada was also associated with Seichi Mamiya, the
founder of Mamiya Camera. Mamiya was a member of Purezanto
and in 1940 invited Shimada to work for his new company
Mamiya Koki Seisakusho. Shimada obliged, and worked
for Mamiya until 1945. After the war, around 1946 Shimada
designed a close-up lens attachment called the Auto-Up.
Having difficulties in obtaining a patent for this
device, Shimada went to his former employer for advice,
and Mamiya advised him to start his own company. Shimada
did exactly that and in 1947 formed Purezanto, a company
named after the camera club. The Auto-Up was a close-up
lens attachment designed for rangefinder cameras which
had an attached eyepiece covering the viewfinder. This
allowed for accurate viewing and this accessory soon
became a hit for Shimada's company.
The only known book published by Shimada is Katsura
Rikyu, published in 1959 by Iwasaki Shoten. This was
a book of images on Kyoto's historic imperial gardens.
As for the Purezanto Shashin Club, it was in existence
for over 50 years. In 1970 Shimada was elected vice
president of the club. Shimada died in 1979 at the
age of 74.