This collection reflects the diversity of photographic styles and imagery that occurred in Japan between WWI and WWII—an important, but little-known time of the medium's development in that country. Painterly, aesthetic-minded landscapes and still lives were largely the output of the numerous, and very serious, Japanese camera clubs and photo societies. Meanwhile, the near-surreal (and crystal-clear) images of Taikichi Irie, on the other hand, pushed the medium to a different place: One that is part documentation, part aesthetic; one that resonates with the Modern imagery of the West.
The Japanese, who previously had been isolated from the Western world for centuries, had a curious way of finessing the adoption of Western technologies and appearances—without totally compromising their Eastern identity.
This material is extremely rare. Earthquakes, natural disasters, fires—as well as the destruction of whole cities during the Second World War—have left few extant examples.