Masahisa Fukase
"In The Solitude of Ravens Masahisa Fukase's work can be deemed to have reached its supreme height; it can also be said to have fallen to its greatest depth". So begins Akira Hasegawa's afterword to Fukase's The Solitude of Ravens, which was originally titled Karasu (Ravens) when it was published in Japan. There can be few photobooks sadder, lonelier, or more tragic than this sequence. Fukase had been famous for the joyous photographs he took of his wife but the marriage dissolved in 1976 and the emotions depicted in Fukase's portfolio began to reverse direction. A despondent Fukase became infatuated with the raven of his native Hokkaido, ten years worth of photographs of these birds make up The Solitude of Ravens. Published in Japan in 1986, it was republished in the United States in 1991. Soon after, Fukase fell down a staircase after returning drunk from a night out. He has been in a coma for the last 14 years. The photobook he left behind is a triumph of photographic expressionism, a record of a man who turned inward, leaving behind pure images of personal grief.


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