Kurokawa (1882 -1944)
Often considered the father of Japanese pictorialism
photography, Kurokawa was born in Kyoto with his birth name
being Tanejiro Kurokawa. The son of a Kyoto textile merchant,
he worked in his family's business until the age of thirteen.
In 1900, due to heavily incurred debts, the family firm went
bankrupt. This event had great impact on Kurokawa and as a
result he began to pursue photography. In 1906 he entered a
photo competition at the Sensho Kinen Hakurankai Exposition,
held to commemorate Japan's victory in the Russo-Japan War.
His work entitled Ame Ato (After the Rain) showed a view of
Mount Hie which garnered him a silver award. This became the
spark that launched his career.
Kurokawa was regularly published in the Osaka based magazine
Shashin Reidai-shu (lit. Photo Example magazine) around 1910.
He was also employed in the photo department of the Hakubun-kan
publishing company's Kyoto office. His photographs were also
published in photography journals, as well as kabuki magazines
during the 1910s and 1920s. He is best known for ethereal views
of landscapes and cultural landmarks, portrayed in a style
heavily influenced by sansui-ga. This traditional style of
Japanese painting interpreted through photography became Kurokawa's
trademark. As a result, his concepts had a strong influence
on many Japanese pictorialist during the peak years of 1910
to 1925. A major holding of Kurokawa's work is kept in the
permanent collection of the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.