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GIRL WITH UMBRELLA in SNOW | by Okinawa Soba (Rob)
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Yes, I know...I already posted this "same" image many months ago.


But, this is for fanatics who like to get into the mind of the photographer.


For a while (and maybe even now), an eBay print seller was selling exact "canvass" prints of my above restored Enami image. This has happened on numerous occasions with photos from my photostream. In such cases, the seller cannot argue that it's a "Public Domain" image, as they have hypocritically watermarked my above picture with their own image-obscuring logos to prevent others from following in their "I-copied-it-for-free" footsteps !


The image posted months ago was from one of Enami's early "first runs" of the image, probably made ca.1892-95. It employed a circular matte under the glass, and had the stock number written in the negative, appearing along the base board at the back. See it here :


The above "square version" from the same negative was printed some years later, probably during the 1905-10 tourist boom in the immediate aftermath of the Russo-Japan war.


Besides being a much cleaner print from the old negative (and in better condition, of course), Enami has (1) tried to obscure the stock number along the baseboard, (2) gone with a different coloring scheme, and (3) opened up the studio with a larger, square matte.


In the beginning, he was concerned with stock numbers and establishing his business. Later, successful and established, he was conscious of his reputation as an "artist". The intrusive number in the above image is now gone (you can see where he blotted it out on the back base board), and his eye for color combinations has changed --- or perhaps we are seeing a "real time" change in the "favorite colors" in fashion at the time.


In either case, what we see is the continued use of Enami's early images over long periods of time. Even customers as late as the early 1920s (before the Great Kanto Plains Earthquake) would pick and chose a set of Enami's images that contained subject matter from 1892 to 1922 !


Enami will always be an interesting photographer to study, and his images can help us understand how commercial photographers throughout Japan (such as KIMBEI and TAMAMURA) continued to use and adapt their old images to new markets as the photo-buying public moved from the 19th Century into the 20th.


Finally, can you spot the above image displayed as a full-sized albumen print here? :







In honor of T. Enami’s 150th Birthday, the above is a one of a large SLIDE SHOW of his old images of long-gone JAPAN from the Okinawa_Soba Archives. These Feb 17, 2009 posts are in addition to the many other T. ENAMI slide, print, and stereoviews already uploaded to flickr in 2008. They can all be found in the COLLECTION and SETS dedicated to Enami’s photographic labors in Japan :


Born in 1859, Enami, whose real name was NOBUKUNI ENAMI (or, in Japanese name order, ENAMI NOBUKUNI) was a “photographer's photographer” who since the 1880s plied his trade as an apprentice and assistant photographer in his youthful 20s, until he died at age 70 in 1929.


His own studio, established in Yokohama in 1892 when he was 33 years old, passed to his son who carried on as a commercial photo processor and publisher of his father’s photographs. When the studio was “closed forever” by the fire-bombings of WW2, it had been in continual existence for 53 years—one of the longest running studios to come out of Japan’s old Meiji era.


Recognized by NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC as one of the most artistic contributors to their Magazine during its first 100 years, a "Lost Archive" of his images is now here on flickr for the enjoyment and appreciation of all who love old photos of Japan.


Here’s a look at the outside of his Meiji-era studio :


And an unusual view of workers on the inside :


A better look at Enami and his photographic accomplishments are found at this Web page on the site dedicated to him (and don’t forget to scroll down for more pictures!) :


Now, back to this flickr “Birthday Bash” for old Enami…









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Uploaded on February 17, 2009