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akiyoshi taniguchi BY APPOINTMENT ONLY

Photography has a perpendicular history. For many years, beginning with its invention, photographers held their cameras straight out in front of them, making sure that the line of the horizon ran parallel to the upper and lower edges of the frame. Then came the Wright brothers, the first World War and, subsequently, the experimentalism of Alexander Rodchenko and Ralph Steiner, Cartier-Bresson and Robert Frank’s snapshots, and, eventually, William Klein, Garry Winogrand, Shomei Tomatsu, Daido Moriyama. Sometimes the world in front of them bows as though it were being observed from the cockpit of a banking airplane. Tilting the frame means pulling the rug from underneath the spectators’ feet. Every photographed subject slumps, runs over the edges, slips outside of the camera range. Yokosuka Again is the title of the series that Miyako Ishiuchi dedicated in the 80s to the memory of his city, the home of the largest American military port in the eastern Pacific since 1945. 7. The tilted horizon - Miyako Ishiuchi

8. Centrality - Kiyoji Otsuji Placing the subject head on and in the center of the frame means abandoning the composition of the latter. A formal structure of this type is equivalent to pointing a finger at what you find in front of the lens. Some photographers have used it to prove their own neutrality and to stress the authoritative cataloguing nature of photography. As in every imperative affirmation, the interest first concentrates on the focus and only then moves outwards towards the edges. In this photograph by Kiyoji Otsuji, you can glimpse, on one side of a tumbledown brick building, a doorway that leads to a shrine and, on the other, a city street with overhanging signs and electricity cables. In the light of this, what remains in the middle takes the form of a cumbersome separating device.

Untitled, 1950s, gelatin silver print, 27 x 20.5 cm.

From ‘Yokosuka Again 1980-1990’, 1980s, gelatin silver print, 42 x 29 cm.


Fantom Photographic Quarterly · Issue 01  

Fantom Photographic Quarterly, Issue 01, Autumn 2009