T. Enami and Japanese photography in the Meiji / Taisho Era

T. Enami. The Tea Pickers. ca. 1905-1920

While cleaning out the Visual Resources Center this past summer, I came across a gorgeous set of  hand-painted lantern slides. The subject matter was Japanese landscapes and everyday scenes, but beyond that there was no information about who the artist was, when these slides were created, or where they may have come from. I wanted to digitize them, but first I needed more information. These slides remained in the back of my mind for the better part of 6 months, until yesterday when I used Tineye and stumbled upon a goldmine.

Flickr user Okinawa_Soba has digitized and made available hundreds of images made by

T. Enami. Mount Fuji and Boatmen in the Early Morning Light. On the Shore of Lake Yamanaka. Ca.1907.

T. Enami, a Japanese photographer active ca. 1892-1929. Scanned from original lantern slides, prints, stereoviews, and postcards, the collection is organized into sets by either medium (stereoviews, halftone, etc.) or subject matter (post 1923 Japan, squatting geisha, etc.). While the Flickr site is informative, with each set and image accompanied by a description, Okinawa_Soba points viewers to a website he created focused on the life and work of T. Enami. A lot of the text from the Flickr collection is duplicated from the website (or visa-versa), though the website seems to be more comprehensive in terms of information about Enami’s life and studio. One caveat is that it is difficult to determine the source of this information.

If you’ve gone through both the Flickr collection and website and still find yourself wanting more T. Enami, Okinawa_Soba directs users to collections at the bottom of the T. Enami collection on Flickr. It is explained, however, that many of the images are not posted on line or may be wrongly attributed.

All images are available for non-commercial use, with proper attribution. If you’d like to see some of the lantern slides in person, stop by the Visual Resources Center in 210a architecture!

Wiki Loves Art Nouveau

the interior of the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest taken by Csaba Attila Kontar

Wiki Loves Art Nouveau is a collaboration between Wiki Loves Monuments and Europeana, in which crowd-sourced photo submissions are paired with informational content to create an interactive online exhibition that explores the Art Nouveau movement. Europeana sponsored an Art Nouveau category in the Wiki Loves Monuments photo contest, and from a pool of 2,600 submissions viewed 16,000 times by 700 voters, the winning image of the interior of the Museum of Applied Arts in Budapest taken by Csaba Attila Kontar was selected. The winning image along with forty other highly ranked photographs and an additional ten selected by a panel of European editors have been combined to create this online exhibition.The exhibition explores the Art Nouveau movement through four thematic micro exhibits, three of which are format based and one that features supplemental images and thematic exploration selected by the editors. The formats explored include exteriors, interiors, and details creating an over-arching emphasis on the way that technological innovation enabled artists, architects and designers to pursue unified exteriors, interiors, and decorative elements. Attention is paid to recurring design motifs drawn from nature and the gravitation towards undulating non-linear elements as a rejection of the existing neoclassical conventions.

The exhibition is smartly structured – it provides a thorough introduction to the style with ample illustration that explains the movements theoretical substance while allowing users unfamiliar with Art Nouveau to grasp its aesthetic execution. At the same time, the structured presentation of the images and text creates a systematic argument for the cohesiveness of the style and the thoroughness with which it was applied in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The exhibition focuses on Art Nouveau as a stylistic break with tradition and a reaction against convention visible in everything from its non-geometric architecture to the use of gold decoration and lighting to evoke a whimsical other-worldliness. The exhibition manages to stress the hallmarks of the style in a structured and systematic way without reducing it to a formula. For a more comprehensive history and exploration of the style, see Europeana’s other Art Nouveau virtual exhibition

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