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Steele-Perkins, Chris. FUJI: IMAGES OF CONTEMPORARY JAPAN. New York City, NY: Umbrage Editions Book, 2002. Hardcover. First Edition/First Printing. 132 pages. Fine/Fine.

Landmark collection of color photographs. One of the most beautiful art photography books of our time. The First Hardcover Edition. Precedes and should not be confused with all other subsequent editions. Published in a small and limited first print run as a hardcover original only. The First Edition is now scarce. A brilliant production by Chris Steele-Perkins: Oversize-volume format. Red cloth boards with black titles embossed on spine, as issued. Photographs and text by Chris Steele-Perkins. Printed on pristine-white, thick coated stock paper in Italy to the highest standards. In pictorial DJ with titles on the cover and spine, as issued. Presents Steele-Perkins' "Fuhi: Images of Contemporary Japan". Photographs of the dynamic and complex country that is modern Japan. Unlike any other documentary, landscape, or street photography (all of which he draws upon), Steele-Perkins has struck upon an arrestingly simple and unrepeatable idea for his portrait of a whole nation: Every single one of the photographs has Mount Fuji in it, visible in the background, looming over Japan, whether it's Tokyo, Kyoto, or a small town, village, and ricefield. It is easy to overlook what Chris Steele-Perkins has pulled off in these photographs, and his achievement therefore deserves to be emphasized: He has made us keenly aware once again of the background, which we have come habitually to ignore, especially when looking at photographs. His approach is subtle, cunning, and instructive in every image: Mount Fuji is the background in varying degrees of recession, sometimes looming over the horizon and too close for comfort, sometimes remote and distant, omnipresent yet never the foreground or main subject of the image. While the Eiffel Tower is the concrete visual symbol of Paris, it does not symbolize France whereas to every Japanese (and every tourist), Mount Fuji is the enduring symbol of Japan. The idea is unrepeatable because there is no other mountain that any other people have vested with such symbolism. Mount Fuji (its proper names are Fuji-san and Fuji-no-yama) was a central aspect of Japan's imperial (and ultimately disastrous) ambitions in the 20th century, remains a part of every important ceremony and sacred ritual to this day, and continually reminds the Japanese people that they have once risen mightily, fallen shamefully, and risen triumphantly again, an economic powerhouse and the most advanced artistic culture in Asia today. The British Steele-Perkins was born in Burma and has had a lifelong love affair with Asia. The idea for his book was inspired by Hokusai's masterpiece, "The Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji". Hokusai discovered the Western notion of perspective through Dutch etching and radically transformed the Japanese wood-block print. As strange as it may sound, his resulting prints have a depth of field that is best described as photographic, and part of Steele-Perkins' achievement is to show precisely that fact in his own images. "Hokusai would have welcomed him as a worthy successor" (Ian Buruma). An absolute "must-have" title for Chris Steele-Perkins collectors. This copy is very prominently and beautifully signed in black ink-pen on the title page by Chris Steele-Perkins. It is signed directly on the page itself, not on a tipped-in page. This title is a great art photography book. As far as we know, this is the only such signed copy of the First Hardcover Edition/First Printing available online and is in especially fine condition: Clean, crisp, and bright, a pristine beauty. A rare signed copy thus. 105 color plates. One of the greatest photographers of our time. A fine collectible copy. (SEE ALSO OTHER HOKUSAI AND CHRIS STEELE-PERKINS TITLES IN OUR CATALOG). ISBN 1884167128. $300.00

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