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Ikko Narahara: Europe, Portfolio of 10 Extra-Large Prints



Ikko Narahara: Europe

Portfolio of 10 Extra-Large Individual Gravure Prints

First Edition, First Printing, 1971

Complete Portfolio Containing All Components As Issued

Near FINE Condition

This is a complete extra large sized portfolio entitled “Ikko Narahara: Europe” published by Chikuma Shobo, Tokyo in 1971 that is volume 7 of the Chikuma Photo Gallery series of portfolios of great Japanese photographers. A total of 8 portfolios were issued the others being Hiroshi Hamaya, Kishin Shinoyama, Yoshikazu Shirakawa, Yoichi Midorikawa Taikichi Irie, Yoshihiro Tatsuki and Eikoh Hosoe. The photographs contained in the portfolio are primarily from his critically acclaimed photobook, “Europe: Where Time Has Stopped” published by Kashima Kenkyujo Shupankan, Tokyo in 1967. Photoeye has provided an exceptional description of the importance of this book, “Like other members of the short-lived but highly influential Vivo agency, Narahara broke with dominant modes of documentary photography, which emphasized story telling, and pursued a more individual and subjective vision. In his famous essay "About My Method", he stated, "Even if a subjectivity abstracted from concreteness called human society is once again plunged into the reality of concrete human society of this land, it should not diminish its meaning as a document." A travelogue of sorts, Where Time Has Stopped records the photographer's travels in Europe from 1962-1965. The off-kilter, expressionist compositions bear the unmistakable mark of Klein, yet are entirely more stark and surreal. Rather than giving the viewer a sense of the photographer as plunged into the world, Narahara's compositions possess an uncanny sense of vertigo--of the camera as almost disembodied, floating through the scenes it observes. "More than once," Narahara has said, "I had the impression that the spirit of my photographs achieved a detachment and freedom of the soul close to nothingness: what is called Zen".

The portfolio is an incredible production that consists of 10 individual mechanically reproduced gravure prints (8 black-and-white and 2 color) measuring 23.5” x 16.5” that are contained in a black stiff paper portfolio with printed labels on the front and rear. The prints are housed inside the portfolio in an envelope that includes the prints as well as a title page, biography page, and a blank cardboard insert to protect the prints. The portfolio itself is housed in a protective vinyl envelope. Based on the size of the portfolio and the number of components, there are usually substantial condition issues with the portfolio. The prints are in fantastic condition and the images are fresh and crisp. The portfolio case has some minor rubs. The black title sheet in the portfolio has some soiling and the inside cardboard of the portfolio case has some print offset. The resealable vinyl protective covering has some sunburning, wrinkling, and tears. Overall, the portfolio is in excellent condition and is considered a superior example of this title that is quite scarce and rarely found complete.

Based on his European photographs, Ikko Narahara won the Japan Photo Critics Association Photographer of the Year Award, The Mainichi Art Award, and the Minister of Education’s Award. His work is cited in Ryuichi Kaneko’s reference work on Japanese Photobooks, “Japanese Photobooks of the 1960s and 1970s”.

Photographs of the front and back of the portfolio case, the envelope housing the prints and the title sheet, examples of the prints, and close-ups of the front and rear portfolio labels appear in the photo section of the listing.