Art photography flourished in Japan during the 1920s and 1930s. Japan's economic prosperity and rapidly evolving cultural institutions fostered an unprecedented community of photographers and allowed for significant exchange of information and ideas with artists in the west.
This selection of rotogravures is unlike any other. They appear to be high quality gravures as they are so exquisitely printed. They all appeared in Bunka Shashin-shu, the magazine published by the Tokyo-based photo group Shashin Bunka Kyokai. This publication was influenced by Stieglitz's Camera Work. The group held regular juried exhibitions that included work by leading Japanese pictorialists of the 1920s. Top selections were published in their magazine. The journal was intended to be a monthly publication, but due to disputes among members it ceased publication after only three issues, in 1922.
Due to natural disasters and the devastation of Japan during World War II much of the work that appeared in Bunka Shashin-shu has been destroyed. This group of images is not only beautiful but according to a Japanese photo historian, extremely rare as well.
The images by Kumazawa and Tomisaburo appeared in a catalogue entitled "Art Photography in Japan 1920-1940" which is also available for purchase.