Lake Suwa (in Japanese, called SUWA-KO 諏訪湖) is in the far, foggy distance, filling the entire width of the dark and moody photo.


I have uploaded the above photo in hi-rez, so you can get down into the paddies, and "pan and scan" the image to take in the details :




I've seen a lot of "Rice Paddies" shots of old Japan, but have always liked this ca.1886-7 image from the Yokohama studio of Italian photographer ADOLFO FARSARI.


The great Rice Paddies of CHINA, JAPAN, and the PHILIPPINES have always impressed me with their age old artistic patterns born from working the land for centuries --- some even as old as 1000s of years. There are many beautiful rice paddy images on flickr.


According to the narrative found in Terry Bennett's PHOTOGRAPHY IN JAPAN 1853-1912, Farsari was a talented photographer, colorful person, and an "interesting" business man. However, he grew homesick for Italy, and returned there in 1890. He left Japan with his young daughter KIKU who was born in 1885, the "result of a liaison with a Japanese woman, Nagashima Hona.".


Farsari never returned to Japan. His days of traveling there with a camera provided him with his own memories of the country until he died in Italy in 1898. The photographic studio he started in Yokohama would continue under his name (but managed by others) until it faded from view ca.1929.


I do not know what happened to little Kiku. She must have been a real beauty.


Lake Suwa and vicinity supposedly looked like this until the 1960s, when industrial development moved into the valley. Here's another modern day pic of the area, and more on the lake itself :






For those interested in a Gallery of over 400 great old Japanese photographs (including over 50 from Okinawa_Soba) --- and probably the best read you will ever get on Photography and Photographers of old Japan --- try to obtain a copy of Bennett's book mentioned above (at amazon.com?). This is not a sales pitch, as I get no kick-backs for mentioning it.


The detailed story and images surrounding ADOLFO FARSARI take up a full five pages of the book.


If you do get a copy, you will find it hard to put down.



Finally, although Farsari had already passed away back in Italy, here is a studio shot of a little Western girl taken much later in the studio that lived on beyond him : www.flickr.com/photos/24443965@N08/2344184988/



  • only1tanuki PRO 7y

    I wish that I could add this to my favorites twice
  • Okinawa Soba (Rob) PRO 7y

    Glad you like it, Tanuki. This scan is from the original 8 x 10 albumen print. It's amazing what they could do with a little egg-whites, salt, and a pinch of silver nitrate....plus a good eye for a nice subject.
  • Charlie 7y

    It sure was picturesque back then, can't say the same about your linked modern photos.
  • Okinawa Soba (Rob) PRO 7y

    Camera ! You are right about that. These days, some spots still look the same, but most look a lot worse, and some beautiful spots in these old images have been literally land-filled or bulldozed into oblivion.
  • Moon over Belgium 7y

    Thank you for all your fav's. You have a quite peculair and interesting stream.
  • Okinawa Soba (Rob) PRO 7y

    Thanks, Moon.
  • Thomas V. PRO 7y

    wow, long lost japan for sure.
    other than the portraits from your stream, the sceneries of this photo would be impossible to reproduce nowadays.
  • Otto_ 5y

    If only one could walk into a photo ... I don't think I'd come back ...
  • Okinawa Soba (Rob) PRO 5y

    FLESHMEAT --- I have tried to reproduce scenic shots on many occasion. Like you said, it's nearly impossible.

    OTTO --- You picked a nice photo to walk into !
  • glasseyes view PRO 5y

    great picture!!!
  • Zainul Abedin 5y

    A great canvas of passion and memory.
  • Okinawa Soba (Rob) PRO 5y

    This scene is probably covered with a few apartment complexes and some construction yards now....and a 7-Eleven.
  • Zainul Abedin 5y

    Thanks for the information.Anthropogenic activities are taking away the beauty of our nature.
  • Damien Douxchamps 5y

  • webbyinjapan2 2y

    Again a delightful photograph. I am glad to say, that in this part of rural Japan, the scene still looks very familiar!
  • Okinawa Soba (Rob) PRO 2y

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Uploaded on September 21, 2008
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