Masataka Takayama (高山 正隆, Takayama Masataka; 15 May 1895 – 14 April 1981) was one of the most prominent Japanese photographers in the first half of the twentieth century.
As an amateur photographer in Tokyo, he published many of his works in the magazine Geijutsu Shashin Kenkyū (芸術写真研究), beginning in the 1920s. He remained an active photographer even after World War II. He was talented at pictorialist (art) photography and took many photographs using a soft focus lens and deformation and “wipe-out” techniques. Takayama usually used a “vest-pocket” Kodak camera (a very compact folding model taking 127 film) with a single-element lens (a tangyoku lens in Japanese). These cameras (and Japanese derivatives such as the Rokuoh-sha Pearlette and Minolta Vest) were popular in Japan at the time for snapshot use, and called ves-tan (ベス単, in Japanese pronunciation besutan) cameras; “ves” coming from “vest” and “tan” from tangyoku. Takayama’s works are thus said to belong to the “ves-tan” (besutan) school.
Extremely active during an important and often largely ignored period of Japanese photography – that of the Taisho Era, during the reign of Emperor Taisho (1912-26). The era is considered the time of the liberal movement known as the “Taisho democracy” in Japan; it is usually distinguished from the preceding chaotic Meiji period, which gave birth to Modern Japan, and the following militarism-driven first part of the Shōwa period. The Taisho era was considered Japan’s “Jazz Age” and saw the peak of the pictorialists movement and art photography.
This book in the great Photographers of Japan series looks at not only the work of Takayama Masataka, but of the leading Pictorialists of the Taisho Era.
* Condition: Very Good (internally tight and clean with some shelf wear to dustjacket) – All care is taken to provide accurate condition details of used books, photos available on request.
- Takayama Masataka and the Pictorialists of the Taisho Era (Photographers of Japan)
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