The Joy of Portraits
Publisher: Rat Hole Gallery
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Split into two volumes and comprising more than 800 pages, “The Joy of Portraits” is a collection of Japanese photographer Keizo Kitajima’s portrait works.
Volume 1 consists of the more recent “Portrait” series, in which Kitajima rejects the aesthetics of choice and snapshot-like moments. For the series, he photographed more than 300 different models over a period of time – everyone wearing the same clothes, the same facial expression. It is, quite simply, an endless series of faces, shot with a seemingly indifferent gaze deprived of empathy, as Kitajima attempts to reach the “thing itself” in the photos.
With six of Kitajima’s most famous portrait series – from his earliest stuff shot in Koza in 1975 to portraits taken in the early 1990s in Europe – volume 2 offers the backstory to Kitajima’s experiment. Presented without further explanation or context, each single portrait in this massive tome nonetheless possesses the power to tell little stories.
With many previously unpublished photographs, “The Joy of Portraits” finally reveals the whole story of Keizo Kitajima’s portrait work.
Volume 2 includes two essays by photography critic Shino Kuraishi (in Japanese and English translation).