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By Baron Raimund Von Stillfried, Felice Beato, Chantal Edel, Pierre Loti
Publisher: Friendly Press
Publication date: 1986
Print length: 112 pages
Language: English
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In 1573, the Tokugawa Shogunate came to power and banished foreighners from Japan. Totally isolated for the next 250 years, Japan became, for Westerners, a lost civilization; a remote island kingdom shrouded in mist and legend evoking whispered images of another time. In 1853, Japan let down the barriers. The world finally could see what it had only imagined. Among the early arrivals were three little known artists: photographer Felice Beato and Baron Raimund von Stillfried, and the novelist Pierre Loti.

Their work caused an immediate sensation throughout Europe, giving birth to the Western fascination and obsession with Japan. It is easy to see why. In the photographs of Beato and Stillbried, a legend comes to life. Whether the subjects are fishmongers or princes, grocers, or samurai, everything is strange, mysterious, alluring. The simple, direct photography overlaid with stylized, exquisitely subtle hand coloring imparts an aura of enchantment to everything. Myth and reality become one.Pierre Loti adds a bittersweet poignancy to the photographs.

By the time Loti arrived in Japan, the old world was rapidly disappearaing . One gets the sense in his writing of somenone deperately holding on to a lovely dream as it slowly fades from memory. That dream lives again in this superbly produced book (originally published in France). The vivid images of this strange and wonderful civilization dazzle the eyes and size the imagination. These are photographs from another time. And another world.
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