In the ocean of books showcased at Book Expo America, one conquered me thanks to the sepia tones, sparseness of its cover and the call to travel it sent.
Anne Lacoste, assistant curator of the department of photographs at J.Paul Getty Museum and Fred Ritchin, professor of photography and imaging at NYU's Tisch School aof the Arts, put together a book of adventure, history and travel, Felice Beato, A Photographer on the Eastern Road (Getty Publications)...
It shares some of the images displayed at Felice Beato Exhibit at the Getty Center from December 7, 2010 to April 24, 2011.
Felice Beato was born in Venice in 1832.
His career in photography started with the Crimean War.
His travels followed the footprint of the British empire throughout the 19th century from Egypt to India.
War was a recurring theme from Indian Mutiny to Second Opium War in China.
3 decades spent in Burma and Japan leave ample material for the Japanese Albums included in this tome.
During his stay in Yokohama because of the restrictions on travel, he started a series of portraits depicting local life. He used the handcoloring techniques part of traditional woodblock prints in a number of his works.
One example of that is Figure 15. Koboto Santaro, negative 1863, print 1868 (Albumen silver, handcolored print, 23.4 3 18 cm (93⁄16 3 7 1⁄16 in.). 2007.26.163) above.
His pictures of members of the Satsuma clan sent to Yokohama to meet British contingent after an incident that saw killing of merchant Richardson by Satsuma regent's samurai bodyguard are now classics.
One of them is Figure 10. [Portrait of the Satsuma Clan Envoys], November 1863 (Albumen silver
print, 17.1 16.2 cm (63⁄4 63⁄8 in.). 2007.26.146) above.
All images were not of course of samurais and fighters, scenes from daily life from 'preparation of the rice' to 'Saki seller' and get togethers were numerous.
I chose Plate 57. A Social Meal, 1868 (Albumen silver, handcolored print, 20.3 3 22.5 cm (8 3 87⁄8 in.). 2007.26.185) to illustrate that.
Many scenic photos from shrines to View of the Native Town, Nagasaki (1863) and View in the Hakone Pass round the selection.
Bits and pieces I shared here are just that.
To get a sense of Felice Beato's artistry and spirit of adventure head to your nearest bookstore to find a copy of Felice Beato, A Photographer on the Eastern Road and start your own journey as I did.
Travel back in time for Tokyo Thursdays # 195