Nayoro, 1977 Fukase's dramatic narrative, Ravens, effectively combines Eastern and Western approaches to photography. For a culture that is traditionally reluctant to expose emotion in public, the expressionistic character of Fukase's work was, in part, the result of the development of the generation that evolved after World War II. His emotionally charged Ravens series began with a chance to photograph a flock of crows on his native Hokkaido. Fukase deepens the sense of melancholy and loss as the photographs progress to produce a sequence of immensely humane and daring images that draw in many aspects of modern Japan. The pattern of black silhouettes in the sky resembles the brushstrokes in traditional Japanese sumi-e calligraphic painting.
About the artist
Fukase, Masahisa was born in 1934 on the northern island of Hokkaido, where his family operated a photographic portrait studio. In 1956, he graduated with a degree in photography in Nihon University. He subsequently worked for an advertising agency before turning freelance in 1968. In 1974, he participated in the New Japanese Photogrpahy exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. His first book, Yugi - Homo Ludence (1971), was centered on his wife Yoko. Following their divorce in 1976, Fukase returned to Hokkaido, where he began a series on ravens, which was eventually turned into his acclaimed book Karasu - Ravens (in English, The Solitude of Ravens) (1991). The ominously dark photographs reflected his increasingly depressed state of mind. In 1977, he recieved the Ina Nobuo Award.
"For art to exist, for any sort of aesthetic activity to exist, a certain physiological precondition is indispensable: intoxication." - Friedrich