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Matinee: Fusuma Photography by Kenji Wakasugi Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

11 December 2021

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the 426th in our series of Saturday matinees today: Fusuma Photography by Kenji Wakasugi.

Fusuma are sliding doors used to separate rooms in Japan. Depending on the occasion, they can be used as a wall, reshaping a larger room, or a door into another space. As such, their silk or paper surfaces are used as a room decoration.

That's where Kenji Wakasugi comes in. Inspired by traditional Japanese ink-painting, his photographs fill the dimensions of the fusuma.

Kenji Wakasugi was born in Osaka, Japan, and graduated from Tokyo Technical School of Photography. He worked at Roppongi Studio in 1970 before becoming a freelance photographer in 1975.

Between 1988 and 1995, he took photographs for a book project and wrote a weekly column for a magazine while travelling around China and Nepal. He then visited the Pacific Islands and Patagonia between 1997 and 2002.

He has worked mainly as a portrait photographer whose subjects have been writers, presidents, scholars, celebrities and others. His current focus is on combining Japanese traditional arts with photography.

Some of his fusuma on display in this video are as simple as an overhead view of a flower. Others are large panoramas of landscapes and seascapes.

Along with some of his individual prints, they are on display as Synthesis II until Jan. 7, 2022 at Ippodo Gallery in New York.

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