Magazine Work

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Camera Mainichi, November 1968, photograph by Kishin Shinoyama

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Camera Mainichi, December 1967, photograph by Haruo Tomiyama

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Asahi Camera, October 1969, photograph by Kishin Shinoyama

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Asahi Camera, June 1969, photograph by Daido Moriyama


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Asahi Camera, January 1976, photograph by Masahisa Fukase

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Asahi Camera, January 1976, photographs Nobuyoshi Araki

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Shashin Jidai, March 1983, photograph by Daido Moriyama

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Shashin Jidai, September 1982, photograph by Keizo Kitajima.

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Shashin Jidai, November 1981, photographs by Nobuyoshi Araki

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Camera Mainichi, April 1965, photograph by Yoshihiro Tatsuki

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By Ivan Vartanian

Is the history of Japanese photography also a history of magazine publishing? In the new issue of Aperture magazine, Tokyo-based curator Ivan Vartanian offers a look through the pages of the popular technical and erotically minded magazines of the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s, revealing some the most significant photography produced during those decades. He writes, “In 1950, in the midst of Japan’s postwar economic recovery, the Ricohflex III premiered on the market. The world’s first mass-produced twin-lens reflex camera was met with phenomenal sales and catalyzed what would become a prolonged boom market for cameras. Magazines like Asahi Camera (1949–present) and Camera Mainichi (1954–85) emerged to educate this new demographic of photo-enthusiasts. While the bulk of content consisted of articles on technique, equipment reviews, and pictures submitted by amateur snappers, these magazines also published some of the most important photography of postwar Japan. Editorial stories by Shomei Tomatsu, Kishin Shinoyama, Daido Moriyama, Yutaka Takanashi, and Issei Suda may not have driven sales, but these photographers effectively challenged established ideas about the nature of the medium. Through their work, they argued that photography had the power to provoke thought and possibly exceed written language in its capacity to communicate.” Here we feature a selection of images from Asahi Camera , Camera Mainichi, and Shashin Jidai (1981-87), which is also discussed in the article. This excerpt originally appeared in Aperture magazine #219, and also appears in Issue 9 of the Aperture Photography App.

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