Only few photographers have captured Tokyo as varied and imaginative as Suda Issei (1940–2019). The late master’s skill to recognize the city as material to be used in his photographic compositions is on full display in his 1980-1982 series “Landscapes with Chimneys” (published by Place-M in 2019), where the central limitation – include chimneys in some form in the pictures – gives birth not only to inventive compositions but a fascinating portrait of Tokyo and its lesser-documented areas.
“‘Landscapes with Chimneys’ ultimately represents my nostalgia for the days when chimneys were tall. I don’t think I realized it when I originally took these photos, but now that several decades have passed, I can’t help but see it that way.
Recently, technology has advanced, and most chimneys in the city do not emit smoke. And the true nature of white smoke is, among other things, water vapor. Even the incinerators in crematoria are powered now by microwaves, and the sight of families sending off a deceased family member with smoke has already vanished. I wonder, will I be able to make it to heaven without the help of smoke?”
(from Issei Suda’s afterword, written in spring 2019)