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THE UMBRELLA FARM -- A Surrealistic View in Old Japan | by Okinawa Soba (Rob)
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THE UMBRELLA FARM -- A Surrealistic View in Old Japan

By T. ENAMI, ca.1905-15 The Umbrella Farm. Vignette from a lantern-slide.


Close examination of the original slide reveals that, aside from the interspersed varying green grass, Enami's colorist also applied over 700 individual curved applications of alternating yellow and red stripes to the umbrellas, rarely allowing any bleed outside the stripes. The orange "sunburst" patterns on the white umbrellas at lower right are free-form applications.


The original, of course, was much smaller than the enlargement here. Imagine the amount of time it must have taken to make just this one image for a customer who had ordered perhaps another 100 or so to go with it.


Whether or not the style and artistry of Enami's photographs appeal to us, the studio colorists under his guidance are certainly to be commended with respect for their patient labors that produced the world of delicate and natural tint seen throughout the body of Enami's work.


Here's a posed look at the "production line" inside Enami's studio. Keep in mind that this is for larger albumen media. If it was showing slide work, everyone would be wearing magnifier specs, holding incredibly fine brushes -- some as thin as a single hair -- and all of them would be hunched over small glass squares printed with Enami's beautiful compositions of old Japan :


Enami cropped his photos in many ways to fit the needs of various formats. Just for the hell of it, I made a panorama crop of the above. With apologies to Enami, here it is :






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Uploaded on March 5, 2008