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Seiichi Furuya - Japanese street and life photographer
Old 08-16-2018   #1
Archiver
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Seiichi Furuya - Japanese street and life photographer

A few years ago, I purchased the book Alive by Seiichi Furuya, a gorgeous hardback exhibition catalogue from 2004. It shows a series of images, arranged chronologically, from his life and wanderings through Japan and Austria, as well as the birth of his son with his wife, Christine Gossler.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bi-1nx_Wy78

I was taken by his composition and subject matter, and his seeming compulsion to document his life through photography. An early picture of his wife shows her smiling, with a Leica M2 and light meter around her neck. Many of his images appear to be Kodachrome, if I am correct in assessing the colour.



Seiichi shot the mundane and the artistic, ranging from a dead rabbit in a field to soft light dappling the face of his wife and son.



Unfortunately, she suffered schizophrenia and eventually took her life in 1985. It is rumoured that when he saw her body lying on the ground outside their apartment building, he grabbed his camera to take final images.

Seiichi's books and exhibitions often recount the life he shared with Christine, almost as if to maintain her memory through allowing others to see it. There is a pathos to his work, a sense of wanting to grab and hold the present so it does not disappear in the future. I see, or perhaps project, some of his motivations for photography as being similar to my own.

http://www.furuya.at/

Seiichi is still an active photographer, and maintains a blog!
http://ausdenfugen.blogspot.com/
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Old 08-16-2018   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archiver View Post
Unfortunately, she suffered schizophrenia and eventually took her life in 1985. It is rumoured that when he saw her body lying on the ground outside their apartment building, he grabbed his camera to take final images.
It is not a rumour, the photo has been published, and is reproduced here: http://the-space-in-between.com/2004...stine-gossler/

Some nice writing, and quotes from Furuya there too.

Marty
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Old 08-16-2018   #3
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Around her neck is not an M2 but an M4.


Erik.
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Old 08-16-2018   #4
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I didn't know him and his work, thanks for the links. I found the Dresden and the East Berlin series interesting. I'll look more into his work
robert
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Old 08-16-2018   #5
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Originally Posted by Erik van Straten View Post
Around her neck is not an M2 but an M4.


Erik.
You are right. Anyway a sad story.
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Old 08-16-2018   #6
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I didn't know him and his work, thanks for the links. I found the Dresden and the East Berlin series interesting. I'll look more into his work
robert
You're welcome. I find his work fascinating for a number of reasons. He documented Austria and similar places during the period just before the Berlin Wall fell, and it's remarkable to see things from that era. His compulsive shooting of everyday scenes and items is disturbingly familiar.

It's a bit like when I saw the Vivian Maier documentary, and I was a bit disturbed to notice some of myself in how she did things. I've got a collection of newspaper articles myself, and I compulsively shoot things so that I have documentation of what happened, when and where. It has proven incredibly helpful for logging my work, as well as knowing when I saw or did something, but I wonder how much of this is driven by an unhealthy compulsion, and how much of it is just habit.

I must admit to feeling quite squirrely if I don't document things in one form or another, so perhaps there is a slight OCD component. At least it's an artistic outlet as well as just plain snapping away.

But enough of me. Seiichi's work is very interesting and bears examination and enjoyment.
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