New York Photo Review
NYPR Archives - 2010

Issei Suda
Vintage Photographs 1970’s and 80’s
Miura Misaki, Kanagawa Prefecture by Issei Suda. Source:
Issei Suda, "Miura Misaki, Kanagawa Prefecture" 1977

Issei Suda is a relatively unknown name in America. But the photographer is well respected in Japan having won the Ken Domon Photography Prize in 1997 and the first domestic photography award at the Higashikawa International Photography Festival in Hokkaido in 1985. Suda, who was born in Tokyo in 1940, started out as a publicity photographer for Tenjo Sajiki, a theater troop that sought to express the mystery in everyday reality. The artist pursued this theme throughout his early career as a freelancer starting in 1971.

The majority of the vintage prints on view at Higher Pictures come from Suda’s first exhibition and major monograph “Fushi Kaden”, translated as “transmission of the flower of acting style”. The series is based on a famous 15th century work on the principles of Noh Theater. The photographs are beautiful and mysterious. The moment the photographer chooses to capture seems to be just before or just after something occurs. A white dog is suspended in mid air about to catch something out of the frame; a withered hand grasps a baby’s hand, the woman carrying the baby has a large smear on her back (is it blood?); a snake crawling up a wall in an empty room. Many times the people in the images are looking at something just out of the frame. This leaves the viewer with an interesting unsettled feeling. One is never quite sure what is going on in the images.

This is the photographer’s first U.S. solo exhibition and I hope it is not the last.

Issei Suda
Vintage Photographs 1970’s and 80’s

Higher Pictures
764 Madison Ave.
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212 249 6100

Thursday, March 11 to
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Hours: Tues - Sat 11 to 6