Nagi No Hira.
Fragments of Calm.
Photographs by Issei Suda.
Tosei-Sha, 2013. 216 pp., 215 black & white illustrations, 10½x8½".
This book has been published as a catalog to accompany the ‘Suda Issei, nagi no hira —
fragments of calm’ exhibition, organized by the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. In his most famous series of work, ‘Fushi Kaden’ (1976), SUDA Issei succeeded in capturing the extraordinary that exists within the ordinary. He received high praise for these photographs, that direct our gazes towards another world, and ever since he has continued to publish works that focus on familiar landscapes, commonplace festivals or customs, etc. He is ranked, not only in Japan but also abroad, together with other photographers whose style presents a uniquely Japanese development of the personal viewpoint, some of his work receiving attention for being peculiarly subjective, while simultaneously providing a new outlook on the standard images of Japan or Tokyo from an ethnological viewpoint.
When I think of the body of his photographic work created over a period of more than fifty years, or the vast number of images that remain stored in negative form, comprising of a total of several million or even ten of million, the term, ‘nagi no hira’ (fragments of calm), springs to mind. The Japanese word, ‘nagi’ which is translated as ‘calm’ refers specifically to the moments in the morning or evening when the wind suddenly ceases and time seems to stand still, and this is this moment that he captures in his photographs. A lack of wind and humid air, these share something in common with the rich elements of time and space that are contained within SUDA’s photographs, and above all, the term provides a hint to aid the comprehension of his photographic expressions. (Quotation text from Harumi Niwa Curator, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography)