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THE DAIYA RIVER NEAR KYOTO -- A Lovely Pastoral Scene in Old Japan (A) | by Okinawa Soba (Rob)
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THE DAIYA RIVER NEAR KYOTO -- A Lovely Pastoral Scene in Old Japan (A)




This post is one of two showing a pair of original, old, hand-colored albumen prints made from the same negative.


It was photographed by T. Enami ca.1892-96, Cataloged as No. 150, The River of Daiyagawa.


The comparative print (with the same caption) is HERE :


Besides the fact that they were both probably printed months or years apart, and probably tinted by different studio colorists, both prints were also acquired from different parts of the world, and had been stored under differing conditions.


Both were copied at the same time for this flickr post using a Nikon D40 under the exact same lighting conditions, with matching crop and posting via PICASA.


Seeing both together is not only instructive, but also a good reminder not to negatively judge the work of the old photographers too quickly based on what might be a degraded print that was once beautiful, or made from what was really a very nice negative.


In this comparison, the above print is as it should be --- very nice, with almost no fading of the underlying photo or the hand-applied colors on top --- even after 110 years or so. The lesson? Keep your photos in a relatively dark, cool, and dry environment.


Although still not (yet) considered by "scholars" to be one of the illustrious "Rat Pack" of early Japanese commercial photographers that included SHIMOOKA, UENO, KIMBEI, K. OGAWA, SUZUKI, ESAKI, TAMAMURA and others, the body of T. ENAMI'S work is never-the-less filled with valuable and instructive examples of early photography that --- for better or worse --- provide a practical window into the highly competitive world of Japan's Meiji-era studios.


As mentioned at the T. ENAMI Website, many collectors and publishers of the day eventually began to prefer Enami's images over those of his more-famous contemporaries. Unfortunately, most Enami albumen prints found today have suffered some degree of physical damage, or time-fade deterioration. That's why finding one in better condition like the above is always a pleasure.


By the way, this is the same river that flows under the "Sacred Bridge" seen in many beautiful modern flickr photos such as found HERE :




Come to think of it, long ago I also posted an old ENAMI lantern slide of the river and bridge. Compare the old and new, and see how well you think the Enami Studio colorists hit the mark with their hand-tinting :







NOTE : The above image is seen without commentary elsewhere in my photostream, and an Enami variant image of the location appears as a lantern-slide under a circular matte on my website here :


The MOTHER-LOAD of T. ENAMI images is found HERE :





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Taken on December 16, 2009