Suda Issei

Born in Tokyo in 1940, Suda Issei has a keen eye for capturing the drama of daily life, as exemplified in this group of photographs taken between 1971 and 1979. A freelance photographer for most of his life, Suda often traveled throughout Japan to observe various festivals and communities in the country’s changing rural and urban landscapes. Known for his slightly off-kilter portraits and close studies of pattern, Suda evokes a sense of mystery and otherworldliness in his photographs. Deeply interested in lighting techniques, he often relies on the flash to surprise his subjects.

Suda graduated from the Tokyo College of Photography in 1962 and began his career shooting for a theater troupe. He gained recognition early in Japan and Europe for his particular mastery of composition, texture, and light. Today, he is considered among the masters of twentieth-century Japanese photography. His first solo exhibition took place in Tokyo in 1977, and his work has since been exhibited internationally.

 


 

black and white photo of a woman in a kimono holding an umbrella and a man in a suit and hat25 Tomiyama-cho
Suda Issei (b. 1940)
Japan, 1971
Gelatin silver print
Purchase—funds provided by the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries
S2017.24

 

black and white photo of a woman swimming, her head above the water and wearing round gogglesUntitled, from the series SINGLE TRACK
Suda Issei (b. 1940)
Japan, 1972
Gelatin silver print
Purchase—funds provided by the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries
S2017.25

 

black and photo of a man wearing a sweater and glasses leaning backUeno Park, Tokyo, from the series Cries, at Ueno Park
Suda Issei (b. 1940)
Japan, 1973
Gelatin silver print
Purchase—funds provided by the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries
S2017.26

 

black and photo abstract of a fractured lineUntitled, from the series Clipped
Suda Issei (b. 1940)
Japan, 1973
Gelatin silver print
Purchase—funds provided by the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries
S2017.27

 

black and photo of an individual reading a magazine. there head is down and poking through a curtain, so you can't see the faceFukugawa, My Tokyo
Suda Issei (b. 1940)
Japan, 1977
Gelatin silver print
Purchase—funds provided by the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries
S2017.28

 

black and photo of two men in black uniformsKajikazawa, Yamanashi, from the series Minyo Sanga
Suda Issei (b. 1940)
Japan, 1978
Gelatin silver print
Purchase—funds provided by the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries
S2017.29

 

black and photo of large group of people all wearing same ceremonial garb with hatsKuroishi, Aomori, from the series Minyo Sanga
Suda Issei (b. 1940)
Japan, 1978
Gelatin silver print
Purchase—funds provided by the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries
S2017.30

 

black and photo of person holding a cup, wearing a kimono. The individual's face is obscured by a large flowering bush in the foreground of the imageHakata, Fukuoka, from the series Human Memory
Suda Issei (b. 1940)
Japan, 1979
Gelatin silver print
Purchase—funds provided by the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries
S2017.31

 

black and photo of a cluster of people on the streetKoen-dori, Shibuya-ku, from the series My Tokyo
Suda Issei (b. 1940)
Japan, 1977
Gelatin silver print
Purchase—funds provided by the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries
S2017.32