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HomeContents > People > Photographers > Fukase Masahisa

Dates:  1934, 25 February - 2012, 9 June
Born:  Japan, Hokkaido, Bifuka
Active:  Japan
Japanese photographer who drew upon his own life to provide themes for his work.

Preparing biographies

Approved biography for Fukase Masahisa
Courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum (London, UK)

In the wake of his divorce in 1976, Masahisa Fukase saw by chance a picture of a flock of crows which crystallised images of solitude and death appropriate to his sombre mood at the time. Fukase began to photograph crows in snow and at night, where the birds are either symbolic of death or have died themselves. The pattern of their black silhouettes in the sky resembles a cluster of brushstrokes in a traditional Japanese sumi-e calligraphic painting. Masahisa Fukase’s Ravens series was to occupy him for ten years. 
This biography is courtesy and copyright of the Victoria & Albert Museum and is included here with permission. 
Date last updated: 11 Nov 2011. 
We welcome institutions and scholars willing to test the sharing of biographies for the benefit of the photo-history community. The biography above is a part of this trial.
If you find any errors please email us details so they can be corrected as soon as possible.

Further research

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References are available for subscribers.There is so much more to explore when you subscribe. 
If you have a portrait of this photographer or know of the whereabouts of one we would be most grateful.
Family history 
If you are related to this photographer and interested in tracking down your extended family we can place a note here for you to help. It is free and you would be amazed who gets in touch.

Visual indexes

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Visual indexes for this photographer are available for subscribers.There is so much more to explore when you subscribe. 

Supplemental information

Some other suggested books by Masahisa Fukase include:
  • Yugi (1971)
  • Chichi no kioku (1991)
  • Kazoku (1991)
I would welcome more complete details and scans of the covers of these books.
[Suggested by Colin Jago - March 19, 2006] 

Internet biographies

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Wikipedia has a biography of this photographer. Go to website
Getty Research, Los Angeles, USA has an ULAN (Union List of Artists Names Online) entry for this photographer. This is useful for checking names and they frequently provide a brief biography. Go to website

Printed biographies

The following books are useful starting points to obtain brief biographies but they are not substitutes for the monographs on individual photographers.

• Auer, Michele & Michel 1985 Encyclopedie Internationale Des Photographes de 1839 a Nos Jours / Photographers Encylopaedia International 1839 to the present (Hermance, Editions Camera Obscura) 2 volumes [A classic reference work for biographical information on photographers.] 
• Evans, Martin Marix (Executive ed.) 1995 Contemporary Photographers [Third Edition] (St. James Press - An International Thomson Publishing Company) [Expensive reference work but highly informative.] 
• Lenman, Robin (ed.) 2005 The Oxford Companion to the Photograph (Oxford: Oxford University Press)  [Includes a short biography on Fukase Masahisa.] 
• Tucker, Anne Wilkes et. al. 2003 The History of Japanese Photography (New Haven and London: Yale University Press) p.337 [Short biography on Fukase Masahisa.] 
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