CHILDREN CALENDAR, size: 20" x 24", set of 12 sheets, clothed case, collotype print on washi, limited edition (30)
Never before in the history of Japanese photography, under the supervision of the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and the Ueda Shoji Office, the collotype atelier at Benrido, Kyoto, is proud to present a limited edition portfolio collection - CHILDREN CALENDAR -consisting of 12 collotype prints selected from Ueda Shoji's most celebrated series of the same name. This is the first time in which new prints are being made after the death of the photographer in 2000. As original prints of Ueda have become all the more unavailable for institutions and connoisseurs around the world, this is a rare opportunity to collect 12 of Ueda's best works. The collotype prints presented in this collection are extremely archival. These exquisitely crafted works of art not only capture the spirits of Ueda's vintage prints, each of them inspires something new to the familiar images of the modernist master.
From luminous whites to rich blacks, the luxurious range of tones exhibited by collotype is unparallel. Richly printed with fine quality inks applied in exacting proportions to the delicately handmade Japanese papers, the collotype prints produced by Benrido, Kyoto, capture all the detail and ambiance of the original photograph in continuous tone. The transcendental beauty of this painstaking historical process shall aspire to create more new images in the future, as seen in the lyrical nostalgia of Ueda Shoji's CHILDREN CALENDAR.
CHILDREN CALENDAR -A Modern Classic from Collotype Country Japan
Edited by the father of contemporary photography Alfred Stieglitz, Camera Work, published between 1902-1917, is said to be the most beautiful photography magazine ever printed in history. The beauty of the illustrated images is a result of photogravure. That of which, is a screen less hand pull process that is known to produce fine artistic prints since the beginning of the 20th century.Well, what then was it like in Japan?
At the beginning of the 20th century, toward the end of the Meiji Era, photogravure was introduced but not vastly utilized in Japan. That is because, at the time, the collotype process was developing rapidly in our country.
To account for the history of collotype in Japan we need to stream back to the early years of the Meiji Era. In 1889 photo master Ogawa Kazuma established the first collotype press in Tokyo upon his return from studying dry plate manufacturing, carbon printing and collotype in the United States. The first output of Ogawa's photoengraving company was the art magazine, Kokka (National Essence), which premiered in October, that same year. From then on, reproduction from photography plates entered a new front through the advance development of collotype. Progressing into the 20th century, in pursuit of pictorialist art photography, Kuwata Shokai's Shashin Reidaishu (Photography Exercises), first published in 1904 in Osaka, heralded the significance of collotype and led to its unique advancement in the Kansai area. After that, during the decades of the 1920 and 1930, landmark photo publications further utilized the collotype process: Fuchikami Hakuyo's Hakuyo, a monthly photography magazine launched in 1922, was printed in large format in fine collotype; Fukuhara Shinzo's Paris to Seinu (Paris et la Seine), also published in the same year; and in 1933, Koishi Kiyoshi's Shoka Shinkei (Early Summer Nerves), a symbolic work of Shinko Shashin (the New Photography movement). Collotype has also helped to foster the photographic expressions of contemporary Japanese photography by rendering images comparable to original prints.
In Europe and the United States, collotype has been viewed as a mechanical printing process for replications and only photogravure has held the esteem as an artistic printing process. However, if we consider the history of Japanese photography, this recognition seems rather inadequate.
With all respect, Japan is a country that has been and continues to embrace collotype. And Ueda Shoji's CHILDREN CALDENDAR is a portfolio collection produced from this inherited tradition that should not be missed.