YES ! YOU MAY COPY AND USE THE PHOTOS ! AND VERBOSITY AWAITS YOU !
The hodge-podge arrangement and criminally verbose nature of this Website is intentional. The Webmaster is using it as his ever-changing, personal scratch-pad; a cyber dumping ground for unedited commentary, and new discoveries related to T. Enami & Friends.
Are you looking for some gold nuggets and diamonds in the rough ? Please start digging through the many photo captions and scattered commentary. Sparkling gems and new revelations of old Japanese photo data await you here.
When eventually published in hard copy, all will be reduced to trim conciseness. For now, just like the last Japanese meal I had, please "eat the fish, and spit out the bones". And of course, enjoy the photos; all freely provided for your Website embellishment, blogging needs, and other creative personal use.
AS WITH ANY IMAGES "BORROWED" FROM HERE, FLICKr, OR ELSEWHERE
THANK YOU IN ADVANCE FOR PROVIDING PROPER SOURCE CREDIT.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Welcome, all who like old Photos of Japan !
YOU ARE ONE OF OVER 100,000 VISITORS TO THIS SITE.
Two Geisha and a Maiko Looking at Stereoviews in T. Enami's Studio.Ca.1898-1907. A nice 3-D version of the above is shown on the Home Page. Scroll way down to see it.
IF YOU HAVE REACHED THIS PAGE DIRECTLY FROM AN OUTSIDE LINK, YOU ARE ON PAGE TWO.
PAGE ONE (HOME) CONTAINS BACKGROUND COMMENTARY, WHILE THIS PAGE CONTAINS MORE TECHNICAL DETAILS ABOUT ENAMI'S STUDIO OUTPUT AND PROFESSIONAL PHASES OF HIS LIFE.
FEEL FREE TO ROAM AROUND AND LET YOUR EYES CHERRY-PICK WHAT INTERESTS YOU.
PLEASE USE THE EDIT > FIND FUNCTIONS OF YOUR TOOL BAR TO QUICKLY ACCESS ANY NAMES OR SUBJECTS OF INTEREST. OTHERWISE, BEGIN SCROLLING DOWN FOR A TREASURE-TROVE OF RARE AND BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS OF OLD JAPAN. ENJOY !
Enami's old Meiji-era eyes are upon you !
CLICK BELOW FOR A SHORT, MUSICAL INTRODUCTION TO SOME OF ENAMI'S 3-D WORK FEATURING CLASSIC STEREO IMAGES PROCESSED WITH EXPERIMENTAL SOFTWARE. THEN, RETURN TO THIS PAGE FOR A LONG SCROLL-DOWN THAT REVEALS HIS MASSIVE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE JAPANESE WORLD OF 19TH & 20TH CENTURY PHOTOGRAPHY :
SELF PORTRAIT OF JAPANESE PHOTOGRAPHER T. ENAMI WEARING SAMURAI ARMOR, TAKING A REST BETWEEN POSES IN HIS YOKOHAMA STUDIO, CA.1898-1900.
NEXT PHOTO BELOW :
NOT ENAMI, BUT THE SAME ARMOR WORN BY AN UNKNOWN MODEL FOR ENAMI'S ALBUMEN PRINT AND LANTERN-SLIDE No.581 "JAPANESE ANCIENT WARRIOR".
ALTHOUGH THIS SITE AND ITS ILLUSTRATIONS ARE DEDICATED TO T. ENAMI, OTHER WELL-KNOWN JAPANESE PHOTOGRAPHERS WHO OPERATED DURING THE MEIJI-ERA (1868-1912) ARE MENTIONED THROUGHOUT THE COMMENTS.
I HOPE YOU FIND THE STORY AND DATA BOTH INTERESTING AND HELPFUL. FOR THOSE WHO ARE HERE PRIMARILY TO LOOK AT THE IMAGES, I HOPE THAT YOU EXPERIENCE SOME ENJOYMENT IN GAZING AT A FEW OF ENAMI'S"LOST PICTURES" OF OLD JAPAN.
THOSE THAT LIVE FOR DISCOVERING NEW DATA AND CONNECTING THE DOTS WILL NO DOUBT FIND SOME EYE-OPENING REVELATIONS HERE.
OF COURSE, WE ALL LOVE KIMBEI KUSAKABE AND THE REST OF THOSE ILLUSTRIOUS JAPANESE PIONEERS OF PHOTOGRAPHY WHO GOT THEIR START LONG BEFORE ENAMI OPENED HIS OWN MEIJI-ERA STUDIO. THEIR BEST WORK IS ENOUGH TO TAKE YOUR BREATH AWAY.
HOWEVER, ENAMI ALSO HAD HIS FANS AND FRIENDS, BOTH AS A PERSON AND AS A PHOTOGRAPHER. THERE WAS NOBODY QUITE LIKE HIM, AND HIS LABORS WERE APPRECIATED BY MANY.
AS YOU SCROLL DOWN THESE PAGES, FOR A FEW MOMENTS YOU MAY STEP INTO ENAMI'S SHOES, AND TAKE A PEAK THROUGH HIS LENS.
LIKE SO MANY OTHERS --- SOME NOW FAMOUS, BUT MOST BEING FORGOTTEN --- ENAMI DEDICATED HIS LIFE TO CAPTURING, AS BOTH ART AND DOCUMENT,A WORLD THAT WAS QUICKLY VANISHING BEFORE HIS EYES.
AS THIS SITE IS A PERSONAL HOMAGE TO ENAMI, YOU WILL FIND SOME AMATEUR ELEMENTS, AND THE OCCASIONAL PITFALL. AT ALL TIMES, PLEASE "EAT THE MEAT, AND SPIT OUT THE BONES" WHILE DIGGING FOR VISUAL TREASURE.
DISCOVERING THE OCCASIONAL GEM OF A PICTURE, OR ODD BIT OF INFORMATION, WILL HOPEFULLY MAKE THE SCROLLING WELL WORTH IT.
Mount Fuji and Boatmen in the Early Morning Light.
On the Shore of Lake Yamanaka. Ca.1907.
(The above scan from a mis-labled slide, so I cannot give the correct data here)
No. S-562 Mt. Fuji Viewed from Lake Yamanaka, and its Reflection.
Ca.1907. From a Stereoview.
"....Most of us who collect, sell, or curate old photographs of Japan never really heard of T. Enami. So, where does he fit in, and what did he do....?"
A bit further below, you will find a still-growing list of thirty two random contributions made by Enami to the photographic legacy of Japan. But first, here is Enami's own short introduction to himself taken right from his view catalog, and then a few nominal words to provide context...
Introduction page from Enami's Print and Lantern-Slide Catalog, ca.1900-05.
The general wording seen above was fairly common to all photographic self-promotion during the Meiji-era, and actually contains less specifics than some of his studio ads which he placed in various guide books of the time. The first-person "my Studio" of the lead sentence is a nice touch that preserves Enami as a man at work with his camera, instead of as a Trade Name to be treated as just more "photographer data" from from the past.
Street Sign detail from a ca.1900-05 Yokohama postcard
A lot of fuss (and rightly so) is made over the beautiful images of Enami's "elder brothers in photography" --- KIMBEI, TAMAMURA, USUI, KAJIMA, SUZUKI, ESAKI, and others with whom he shared the same market during all or part of the last two decades of the Meiji era and beyond. Even Enami's photography teacher, K. OGAWA, who was actually a year younger than Enami, was still his "elder" in terms of experience.
However, Enami did not allow the over-shadowing reputations of these well-established "elders" to deter him from either working closely with many of them, or from establishing a style and quality in some formats that many in his day preferred over the images produced by his above-mentioned contemporaries.
To many whose lives revolved around photography --- including both Japanese and foreign professionals, as well as serious amateurs --- Enami was not just a photographer, but a "photographers photographer" in all that he did, being appreciated and called on by friends and associates who relied on his abilities during his many years behind the lens.
ABOVE : One of the earliest know photographs of Enami's relatively small, but highly-productive studio at No.9 Benten Street in Yokohama, ca.1894-95. Perhaps that is Enami himself, or an assistant standing in the doorway. A large, sample portrait is on display. What appears to be part of a glass skylight is seen behind bars on the second floor. I assume that larger skylights were incorporated into another part of the building. Photo possibly taken by K. Tamamura who took the photo below.
BELOW : Detail from the earliest known image of T. Enami's studio taken between 1892 and 1893. (Full albumen print is not shown). It was photographed by Enami's friendly competitor and neighbor Kozaburo Tamamura, whose studio was located at No.2 Benten Street. The pre-1894 date of the image is known by the missing landmark "Clock Tower Building". It would be built in 1894 just down the street on the right hand side, and appear in endless views and postcards as the most recognizable landmark of Benten Street.
Other images of Enami's studio -- both interior and exterior views -- are shown farther down on this page.
While offering many of the same services and productions as his contemporaries, he also engaged in other activities that made him unique. This claim will be borne out by the list offered just below. Further, while no photographer did "everything", Enami worked and published in more processes and formats than any other Japanese photographer of his time.
He was one of only a few photographers born during Japan's old Edo-Bakumatsu period, who went on to photograph right through to the Showa period of Emperor Hirohito.
Enami was also one of the few to experience, and then successfully outgrow his roots as a traditional maker of the classic, large-format "Yokohama Shashin" albums. While successfully embracing the smaller stereoview and lantern slide formats, he added to that a portfolio of Taisho-era "street photography" that maintained his own unique and artistic content.
Over the years, he became a living link between the style of the Meiji-era masters of the 19th century, and the sensibilities of the "Taisho Art" pictorial movement in the early 20th Century.
Enami's Business Card ca.1900-1905
Enami opened his studio in 1892, and by 1897, he had already conquered the magnificent volumes of Capt. Brinkley's Japan - Described and Illustrated by the Japanese. These silk and crepe-covered folio-sized books contain more of his photos (used as tipped-in illustrations) than any other contributing photographer currently identified -- even more than the large number of images by Kimbei Kusakabe that have so far been identified.
In 1904, The Guidebook for Travelers in Japan published by theNYK Japan Mail Steamship Line (Nippon Yusen Kaisha) recommended "Mr. Enami" as one of only seven named studios for tourists and collectors to obtain good, hand-colored photographs.
Ten years later, in 1914, the Japan Government Railways Guidebook also gave a short list of recommended Yokohama photographers and their locations. Although the illustrious Kimbei and Tamamura made the list, Enami was the only one for whom the book's compilers felt moved to mention some examples of his high-quality productions: Colored Lantern Slides, and Stereoscopic Views.
"N. Enami", translated directly from his real Japanese name Nobukuni Enami. This is perhaps the only incidence known where he is not called by his established trade name, T. Enami.
In 1988, Enami was posthumously honored by having one of his photos grace the cover of the National Geographic Society's 100th Anniversary Book, Odyssey - the Art of Photography at National Geographic.
Enami is now known for three separate series of numbered views (ca.1892-99 Large Albumen Prints, ca.1900-07 Stereoviews, and ca.1912-16 "Street Photography). However, only printed catalogs for the first two series have been re-discovered so far.
THE 2-D CATALOG
In 2009, Enami's complete Catalog for the Magic Lantern Slides and the Colored Photographs -- listing 861 of his most popular 19th Century Large Albumen Prints, and Lantern-Slides made from the same -- allow many views formerly relegated to the "Photographer Unknown" category to be properly credited.
"THE CATALOG FOR THE MAGIC LANTERN SLIDES AND THE COLORED PHOTOGRAPHS"
30 pages of detailed titles --- many of them longer than the abbreviated versions found on the prints themselves --- help to separate the work of Enami from other photographers who used similar number schemes and lettering for the in-photos captions found on many large albumen prints from the mid and late-Meiji eras.
THE RARE PRICE LIST SEEN IN THE ABOVE ILLUSTRATION IS NOW, WITH SOME INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS, PUBLISHED IN FULL ON THE HOME PAGE OF THIS WEBSITE
When eventually republished with helpful corrections, notes, and clarifying illustrations, the Catalog will give researchers and curators a better understanding of Enami's (and others) place in the world of "composite albums" put together by third-party photo dealers and image wholesalers of the time.
Curiously, and in spite of the longevity of many famous commercial Japanese photo studios, T. Enami and Kimbei Kusakabe are now the only two Japanese photographers known to have a surviving list of their commercial 2-D images.
Being able to compare the numbered and cataloged photos from both studios is helpful for identifying PUBLIC DOMAIN images sold by Enami and Kimbei, yet not photographed by either of them.
However, as described below, Enami would surpass Kimbei in number of commercial images offered, by publishing another large catalog of beautiful photos in a popular format that had escaped Kimbei and most other well-known photographers of the time.
Enami's lantern-slides made from his early 2-D images would gradually give way to a more popular offering of slides made from his 3-D images.
While Enami's 2-D portfolio contained a sprinkling of older, public domain images, his 3-D images and slides made from them were wholly his own.
THE 3-D CATALOG
"S 26. Girls Looking at Pictures" A Maiko and two Geisha Looking at Stereoviews in Enami's Yokohama Studio. One of over 1000 cataloged 3-D images of old Japan.
THE "CATALOG OF COLORED LANTERN SLIDES AND STEREOSCOPIC VIEWS"
Not surprisingly, Enami matched his older Catalog of Meiji-era Prints with a separately published catalog of his classic STEREOVIEWS. As with the 2-D Catalog, the 3-D Catalog doubled as a numbered lantern-slide list. In the case of the 3-D Catalog, the lantern-slides were all made directly from one half of the stereoview negatives.
The Cover and two sample pages of the Stereoview Catalog are shown just below in the Enami Activity List numbers (6) and (9).
"Number crunching" will be found at list item (6)
As for the stereoviews themselves, numerous examples are found scattered around this Website, with many more found on Flickr.
With this unique pair of Catalogs, Enami's output exceeded the image count of K. KIMBEI'S own line of photographs --- providing a variety of formats, and a quality of Lantern-slide images that KIMBEI was never able to equal.
A Variant of Enami's "S 26 Girls Looking at Pictures". Enami took several variants of each title as back up. Occasionally they were published. This particular image is scanned from an un-transposed contact proof print. You can free-view it in 3-D using the "cross-eyed method. The mounted and colored stereoviews seen throughout this site can be free-viewed using the "parallel method". Good luck !
MAN ON THE STREET
Although there are still some unanswered questions and conflicting data, it appears that Enami went on to compile a portfolio of "Street photographs" taken mostly between 1915 and 1920, after the boom days of hand-colored Albumen Prints and Stereoviews had passed.
Although a Catalog of these images has been found with the name H. SUITO [of Tokyo] attached to it, a British author in the 1920s credited Enami with actually haven taken the images.
Over 800 of these images have been cataloged, with many appearing on Enami slide mounts, and as illustrations in books utilizing other known Enami images.
The relationship between Enami and H. Suito has not been defined, nor which of the two men was actually behind the camera. Research is ongoing.
A complete accounting of Enami's untiring work behind the lens would require more time resources than this Webmaster has available.
Therefore, knowing that perfection and completeness are far from us, I have whittled down much of what is now known about Enami's camera work. Here is a growing list of thirty two random and interesting things I'll call....
A PRELIMINARY LIST OF T. ENAMI'S ACTIVITIES and CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE WORLD OF JAPANESE PHOTOGRAPHY
For the moment, based on a wide range of primary sources, it is now clear that T. Enami's professional life included (but were not limited to) being the cameraman behind the following :
CLASSIC, LARGE FORMAT ALBUMEN IMAGES OF 19th CENTURY JAPAN
(1) A LARGE FORMAT CATALOG OF 861 CATALOGED ALBUMEN IMAGES & LANTERN-SLIDES -- WITH 103 BONUS VIEWS OF THE PHILIPPINES.
The cover of Enami's Meiji-era 2-D catalog is shown above. You passed it while scrolling down to this spot.
Examples of the Japan photographs featuring people and scenic views are scattered throughout this Website..
These photographs, for the most part, were shot during the 1890s, and were available in all paper sizes. However, customers usually purchased the hand-colored, full-plate versions, and boxed-sets of lantern slides.
Among collectors, Japanese photographs of this nature are commonly called Yokohama Shashin (meaning "Yokohama Photographs", even if they were not taken in Yokohama).
Yokohama Shashin is a generic term for commercially sold, late-19th Century albumen photographs, usually hand-tinted, depicting studio and scenic views of Japan.
The images were sometimes sold as singles, but usually compiled into what collectors now call "Yokohama Albums".
Intended for souvenir-buyingtourists, Enami's albums usually consisted of 50, and sometimes 100 tinted albumen images mounted on card stock.
The albums were usually bound with Gold and Cherry lacquered covers, but were sometimes made with embroidered cloth over boards.
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL. AT YOUR HOME OR IN THE STUDIO.
(2) All sizes of private studio and portrait work on a variety of mounts including "Card" (CDV), Cabinet, Imperial, and larger sizes up to the 17" x 22" Mammoth Prints. Customers could chose to have their finished prints on a choice of Bromide, Velox, or Printing Out Paper (P.O.P), all neatly done up on a wide variety of both plain and decorative imprinted mounts.
Also see the inside book illustration at list number (11) down below.
These services, along with the processing and printing of film brought in by amateurs and tourists was offered at both his Yokohama main studio, and his overseas branches [See No.19 below, and the 1901 photo of the HOVELL FAMILY] ;
(3) Private visits to photograph the home of foreigners, or family groups gathered there, and finished at the above-mentioned sizes ;
(4) Copy and enlargement services for existing photographs brought in by customers, and finished at the above mentioned sizes ;
THE MAGNIFICENT "BRINKLEY SETS"
THE 12-Volume EMPEROR'S EDITION, finest of all 1897 "Brinkley Sets". Enami's contribution is described briefly in number (5) just below, and in more detail as part of the main story text further down on the page.
(5) Enami is also the cameraman behind largest body of identified work in the unsurpassed Japanese-produced, American-published, multi-volume folio sets of Brinkley's JAPAN : DESCRIBED AND ILLUSTRATED BY THE JAPANESE [Boston. J.B. Millet Co., 1897]. Over 40 of Enami's images are found as both large and small tipped-in albumen photos, and black and white half-tones.
The best sets (including the rare 12-volume versions with the two extra Art Folios) all contained 10 volumes illustrated with 260 hand-colored albumen prints. Sixty of these were full-plate matted prints.
Among the more than 30 T. Enami's albumen images recognized so far, 8 of the large matted prints are his, including the lead-off matted print of MOUNT FUJI AS SEEN FROM KASHIWABARA found at the beginning of Volume 1. The cheaper versions that use black & white halftones contain at least 15 additional Enami images not seen in the more expensive albumen editions.
As more research is done, it is expected that the number of identified Enami images will grow.
NOTE: The same publisher also issued a rarely-seen Special Art Folio consisting of sets of un-bound mountedalbumen prints. All images were individually labeled on the back with the names of the contributing "Artists", T. Enami being included among them.
JAPAN IN DEPTH Even in enlargement, Enami's quality holds true, and reveals the meticulous work of the colorists under his supervision, who worked with brushes as thin as a single hair.
(6) ENAMI'S MEIJI-ERA CATALOG OF THE WORLD'S FINEST STEREOVIEWS
979 Views of "Civilian" Japan proper.
33 Views of War-time scenes in "Homefront" Japan during the 1904-05 Russo-Japan War.
TOTAL 1,012 original 3-D views of JAPAN
PLUS 127 overseas "RUSSO-JAPAN WAR" titles that include...
81 Views of Battle-field scenes in China
46 Views of "Civilian" China including Scenic and Local Occupational Images.
Welcome to Enami's circa 1908 Catalog of 3-D views.
1,131 of them, to be exact.
During his lifetime, Enami photographed and published well over 1000 of Japan's finest Meiji-era stereoviews in both black-and-white and precision hand-colored versions. These images were also picked up and sold world-wide by over a score of Western publishers.
Current research seems to indicate that Enami "retired" several hundred of his late-1890s stereoview images, replacing them with the almost 1000 new views that appear in this catalog --- most all of the images photographed between 1902 and 1907.
NOTE: This newly-discovered, ca.1908 3-D catalog appears to be a later edition that does not list his large stock of MANILA, SINGAPORE, HONG KONG, and SHANGHAI stereoviews --- advertised as "ALWAYS IN STOCK" as far back as 1902. By 1903, Enami had also added "PEKING, and TIENTSIN" to his list of stereoviews.
At the moment, it is not known if some (or all) of these earlier-advertised China images were incorporated into the 46 Chinese civilian-subject stereoviews listed in the 1908 catalog. Hopefully, the future discovery of an earlier Enami 3-D Catalog will answer these questions and more.
S 132 The French Consulate in Yokohama along the Horikawa Canal, ca.1905.
THE LONG AWAITED DISCOVERY OF T.ENAMI'S "CATALOG OF COLORED LANTERN SLIDES AND STEREOSCOPIC VIEWS"
A VERY NICE SURPRISE : On February 11th 2011, after sitting in a box for twenty years, the "Holy Grail" of Japanese stereoview history came back into the light. The complete, ca.1908 edition of Enami's 42-page catalog of stereoviews and lantern-slides was discovered by Leigh Gleason, Curator of Collections at the California Museum of Photography.
An amazingly vast archive and museum, the CMP is part of the University of California in Riverside. Among endless unique surprises, well over 100 Meiji-era T. ENAMI stereoview negatives have been identified --- and possibly 100s more of them are waiting to be found among the quarter-million-or-more 19th and early 20th Century stereoview negatives depicting world-wide subjects.
Along with the Enami catalog, an equally rare copy of T. TAKAGI'S ca.1915 Catalog of over 800 Lantern-slide titles and encyclopedic captions was also found. Takagi was a worthy competitor of Enami, and his slides nicely compliment those of Enami. While there is an overlap of many themes, these two men ended up filling their catalogs with beautiful and interesting subject matter unique to each of them.
For you die-hard collectors and researchers who are not satisfied with the PAGE-ONE sample illustration below, and will kill to get the rest of Enami's 42 page catalog (as well as T. Takagi's excellent catalog), please put down your weapons. Complete digital copies of these rare catalogs --- in the form of PDF files --- may be obtained by writing to Ms. Gleason, the Curator.
This is page one of Enami's 42-page "S-Number" catalog of 3-D views. The images form a completely separate portfolio from the already mentioned 2-D catalog of Meiji-era Prints and Lantern Slides. The "S" prefix before every number stands for "Stereoview".
Every title is an original stereoview photographed by Enami, and every lantern-slide bearing the same number and title is made from a half-stereoview negative.
The 42 pages contain listings for exactly 979 views of Japan proper, and 160 views of the Russo-Japan War taken in both Japan and China during Enami's short stint as an Imperial Army photographer.
Several of the views listed in this Catalog also appeared in at least four issues of NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE !
Above Catalog cover and page-one illustrations courtesy of University of California, Riverside / California Museum of Photography.
THE CATALOG VIEW-LIST LEADER FOR COMMERCIAL IMAGES OF OLD MEIJI-ERA JAPAN
At 1,873 views of Japan proper, Enami's listing of fine 2-D and 3-D images gives him the largest published portfolio of any studio during the Meiji-era. Further, his portfolio actively grew until he passed away at age 70 in 1929.
By comparison, KIMBEI listed only 1,312 commercial titles in his own catalog, while TAMAMURA claimed just over 1,200 views.
In addition, these two known editions of Enami's catalogs list another 230 Albumens, Lantern-slides, and Stereoviews of PHILIPPINE, CHINA, and RUSSO-JAPAN WAR subjects --- Total catalog offerings of over 2,100 Meiji-era images.
Enami's ca.1908 catalog supersedes all previous numbering found on his earlier views. In fact, for reasons unknown, by the time this catalog was made, Enami had ceased numbering his stereoviews, and was applying the numbers and captions only to the matching Lantern Slides.
"...applying the numbers and captions..." is also a literal description of what Enami was doing in his studio --- cutting up galley sheets of these catalog pages, and pasting then right onto the lantern-slide matte paper just under the cover glass !
FINAL 3-D NUMBERS :
Unless other, earlier Enami catalog(s) are discovered, the true extent of his 3-D negative files might never be known. As mentioned above, his well advertised stereoviews of MANILA, SINGAPORE, HONG KONG, SHANGHAI (and other cities in China) remain a numerical mystery.
It is possible that Enami had those foreign locations numbered in the 1001 - 2000 positions --- an empty gap in his 1908 catalog --- where we jump directly from the S-979 stereoview title, directly to the The Russo-Japan War series of 160 views, given position numbers S-2001 through S-2160. The implication being that his foreign Stock was left out to make a pure"JAPANESE SUBJECT" catalog for 2008, with certain "China Views" excused and included for their connection to Japan's "Theater of War" with the Russians.
The technical speculations of the Webmaster aside, the large advertised inventory of Foreign Asian Views missing from the 1908 Catalog remains a fact. Although the specific titles and numbers are not known, their otherwise advertised existence clearly indicates the even greater size of Enami's professional portfolio.
Customers visiting Enami's Benten Street studio could order over 1000 real-photo stereoviews as either Black-and-White, or delicately hand colored images. Did you ever wonder what the price of these beautiful 3-D photos was? The old Japanese prices are given on Enami's PRICE SHEET shown on the homepage of this Website. For a discussion on the relative values in today's DOLLARS, please, see the second part of this Flickr caption HERE.
100s more of Enami's PRINTS, SLIDES, and STEREOVIEWS can be seen on Flickr. Just pick your set and got for it HERE. Or, you can stay right here and see lots of them scattered all over this Website !
(7) Numerous Enami 2-D and 3-D postcards can be found issued by local and foreign publishers. Images in this format have been seenas silver-prints, collotypes, and half-tones. Most, but not all, were cropped out from half-stereoviews ;
The above examples of mostly Meiji-era postcards produced by Japanese and Western publishers are made from T. Enami's photographs. They are only a few of many that may be found. It is possible that many or all of the Y (Yokohama) series of colored collotype postcards that were made from ca.1905-15, as well as street and scenic postcards appearing on the Tombou (Dragonfly) series were also the work of Enami. Unfortunately, none give photographer credit, and this remains speculation.
(8) Enami made some of Japan's finest hand-colored lantern-slides in both British (3 1/4 x 3 1/4 inch square)and American sizes (3 1/4 x 4 inches). Produced from both standard and stereoview negatives, these are especially loved by collectors who appreciate the detailed hand-tinting, and the luminance achieved by back-lighting the image.
These fine-grained photos sealed under cover glass, devoid of the crackled albumen surface and fading sometimes associated with print versions exposed to the elements, are always an exciting thing to find. Examples of these lantern-slides are plastered all over this Website and here on FLICKr;
Right Click on any photo and "View Image" at Large Size.
On the left is AMERICAN SIZE (3 1/4 X 4 inches); on right is BRITISH SIZE (3 1/4 inch square). For the British size version, Enami enlarged the image to exclude the sky, and feature the Geisha and Lantern more prominently. Both slides ca.1905.
Drying tea leaves. Ca.1905 A great "available light"study.
On a country road through Sanmaibash, near Hakone. ca.1905
A MAIKO GONE TO THE DOGS
Street Banners advertising The Museum of the Strangest Things in the World. Ca.1905. One of over 2,000 Meiji-era, cataloged lantern slides by T. Enami.
(9) TRANSPARENCY vs. SLIDE
Enami offered all of his views as larger glass transparencies (see below illustrations), usually hand tinted and framed in wood for illuminated window display, or for use as decorative photographic panes in lamps and multi-pane "oriental style" table lanterns.
The illustration on the right is found insideEnami's 1908 Catalog of Stereoviews and Lantern-Slides, already described in list entry number (6) above.
Here, Enami provides illustrations to show the difference between a "TRANSPARENCY" and a "SLIDE" --- terms that meant two different things before WW2, but gradually became synonymous in the latter half of the 20th Century.
Although the sample illustrations provided by Enami are of the simple framed variety with decorative tassels, he also made more complicated enclosures for use a lamp panels, such as shown just below.
Above illustration courtesy of University of California, Riverside / California Museum of Photography.
ABOVE : Post-1923 letter head continues to mention "transparencies".
BELOW : An example of one pane from a multi-pane, decorative table lantern.
The above hand-tinted, glass transparency pane is an enlargement made from one half of a ca.1898-1903 Meiji-era stereoview negative. Other styles of framing include a simple wood surround with attached cord for hanging in a window. Both styles could come with attached, decorative tassels attached to the frames.
(10) Enami is the only Meiji-era photographer I am aware of that has left the world a large series of contact-sheet proof prints of his original stereoview work. The images range from studio creations to scenic vistas, and include images that seem more personal than commercial. They were never meant to be cut, transposed, or mounted. Instead, they seem to form a "guide set" or visual catalog of the stored negatives.
As shown below, the backs are numbered in a sequence that is not reflected in any of his standard published catalogs, and contain short manuscript notations (titles) in both Japanese and stilted English. It is possible that these notations were written by T. Enami himself.
With Enami's larger albumen prints found in the old tourist albums, after the hand-coloring and mounting was done, and the views sent out into the world, time and the elements, along with careless handling and storage, has often destroyed the evidence of Enami's well-exposed negatives, and his care in the darkroom.
However, found scattered among the MARK SINK COLLECTION of large Japanese albumen prints are some of the best surviving examples of Enami's richly printed originals
The same general quality of the surviving silver-gelatin 3-D proof sheets that have been stored in darkness since the Meiji era are a testament to Enami's original camera exposures, development of the negative, and pulling of well-timed prints from the trays of chemical baths lined up in his darkroom.
The proof prints shown here, and throughout this site, are all standard 3-D print size. Normally, the two halves would be separately die-cut, and the finished domed-shaped prints transposed left-for-right.
The backs of the three proof sheets seen to the right are shown just below.
At first glance, several of the proof sheets contain photos that would seem to have little commercial appeal. However, once color was added, and the finished views shown, it was clear that Enami was always aiming to provide some kind of 3-D pleasure.
The numbers here do not match any of the images in Enami's Stereoview catalog shown in list number (6) above. What they mean, and how Enami used them is yet to be understood.
However, just as large Western stereoview producers sometimes assigned numbers to to their negatives that had no relationship to printed position-numbers in a set or catalog, perhaps these are Enami's own ledger numbers for his 1000s of negatives.
Always remember that most all photographers switched out or upgraded images from time to time, but the catalog numbers would remain the same.
Below is a good example of "variants". Often, photographers would take two or more photos to make a series, tell a story, or just take back-up views in case a glass negative was ever broken or damaged.
For a further look at many more contact proofs from Enami's darkroom, as well as comparative pairs and triplets showing proofs and variants, please see the fine selection of Enami proofs right here on Flickr.
BOOK ILLUSTRATIONS IN MODERN DAY PHOTO HISTORIES
(11) Numerous Enami images , usually credited as "photographer unknown" or "anonymous", are found scattered throughout modern-day (late-20th Century and early 21st Century) photo-histories and photo-plate books of old Japan such as pictured below. As scholars and compilers of these books become more familiar with Enami's identifying studio props, and his title (caption) + catalog (negative) numbers, credits will gradually improve ;
SOUVENIRS FROM JAPAN by Margarita Winkle is one of a mountain of fine books that have featured personal or institutional collections of 19th century Japanese images. This particular book (published in 1991 in the Netherlands) presents a beautiful selection of 179 early Japanese albumen prints from the Shilling Collection --- over 500 prints amassed by one "R. Shilling, Civil Servant and Forest Advisor to the Royal Prussian Government". Shilling spent the years 1899 to 1903 in Japan, and from his residence in Tokyo traveled widely throughout the country.
Although none of the book's featured gallery prints are by Enami, on page 28 of the introductory material we are treated to two photographs of Shillings "Aunt" taken by Enami in his Yokohama studio. The lovely side pose with lowered parasol was a nice move by Enami, rarely seen in other "studio tourist" images from the time.
WHOLESALE AND LOOSE PRINTS FOR ALBUM MAKERS AND OVERSEAS RETAIL MARKETS
Hand-colored, albumen stock-photos used by anonymous "Yokohama Album" makers in Japan, who produced "composite albums" for sale at "Curio Shops" and other non-studio outlets.
Such photo-retailers obtained these prints by order from many commercial photographers.
Enami also provided unmounted prints to wholesalers who by-passed the immediate tourist market --- shipping huge amounts of these images out of Japan (mostly to Europe, where such images were popular sellers to "armchair travelers" and photo connoisseurs) ;
IN OLD TRAVELOGUES FROM THE MEIJI AND TAISHO ERAS
(13) Enami's 2-D images (from both standard and half-stereoview negatives) were sold directly to authors and travelers keen on using hisviews to illustrate theirnarrativesabout Japan.
These authors usually were careful to credit Enami in their photo-illustrated books ;
Posted are two book examples from many.
Illustrations above and below from this 1904 book by world traveler D.C. Angus. These are only three of quite a few Enami images use by Angus. Angus opted for images from Enami's earlier, 2-D Catalog of Prints and Lantern-slides.
Credited photos such as this found in old books and periodicals help to identify many anonymous albumen prints (and even whole albums) from the Meiji era.
The below WHEAT GLUTEN SELLER halftone from the 1904 book shown above may be seen as real, 1890s hand-colored photographic lantern slide posted on Flickr HERE.
Frank Carpenter (below) opted for a series of images listed in (1) Enami's Meiji-era Catalog of Stereoviews, and (2) a mysterious series of early Taisho-era 2-D images published by Enami, some of which also appear in the H. SUITO Catalog of Tokyo. A study of the connection between Enami and Suito is still on-going. See STOCK PHOTOS below).
The half-stereoview images were taken from the full negative, showing areas of the image that were usually cropped off when making the mounted stereoviews. Some of these may be seen as full stereoviews both on this website and Flick. By the way, there are many more Enami views in his book that the seven full-page sample images below.
EVEN ALFRED HITCHCOCK LOVED AND USED T. ENAMI'S PHOTOS !
NO. NOT THAT ALFRED HITCHCOCK. THIS ALFRED HITCHCOCK :
HITCHCOCK'S 1917 BOOK USED ENAMI'S 1890s LARGE FORMAT STOCK, AND HIS EARLY-TAISHO-ERA STREET PHOTOGRAPHY. (Some of the same images also appear in the H. SUITO Catalog of Tokyo. A study of the connection between Enami and Suito is still on-going. See STOCK PHOTOS below). The two images seen above are selected from 100 half-tone images appearing in the book, many / most by T. ENAMI.
(14) There was a massive TAISHI-ERA STOCK PHOTO ARCHIVE of of 733 silver-gelatin prints cataloged by a fellow in Tokyo named H. SUITO. These images were also published by Enami. British Missionary and author WALTER WESTON -- a good friend of Enami, and a user of Enami photos for his own books --- used the introduction to his books to credit the sources of his photo illustrations. By a process of elimination, T. ENAMI remains as the only possible photographer, and no mention is ever made of a Mr. H. Suito.
The images that comprise this numbered "archive" appear to have been taken between 1912 and 1916. The "Stock Photo" businesses whom Enami (and other photographers) supplied during those days usually stripped the photographer of all credit while supplying images to the general publishing industry, including agencies that supplied Japan images to tourists on "World Cruise" adventures.
However, in the Taisho-era American published ASIA magazine, H. Suito (and not Enami) is given credit for some of these images. While attempting to resolve the ENAMI vs SUITO accreditation problem, these images will continue to have a place here on ENAMI.ORG/
Walter Weston's witness, and Enami's own attached imprints on his lantern-slides bearing these photos will be considered sufficient to hold his place until proven otherwise. In the meantime, research continues.
As only one example of the numerous magazines and books that featured these pictures, almost ten of the stock images were published posthumously in 1930 by F.M. TRAUTZ in the now-expensive, photographic-plate-book JAPAN, KOREA AND FORMOSA.
In this case, as in so many others, the photographer is not credited, leaving the ENAMI vs SUITO mystery unresolved ;
(15) Photo-processing, printing, and enlarging for amateurs and tourists traveling throughout Japan.
[See No.18 below].
This also included the production of hand-tinted lantern slides made from their negatives of other countries visited before arriving in Japan ;
PARTICIPANT IN INTERNATIONAL PHOTO EXHIBITIONS
(16) According to the late Frances Fralin of the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC, Enami entered and /or exhibited his images in several international photo exhibitions (not yet known if these exhibitions were those hosted in Japan or outside of Japan. Probably both).
(17) As shown below, several of the Japan images in The Philadelphia Museums print series produced in the USA from about 1900-1910 were cropped reprints of Enami's 1890s albumen prints ;
Above No.620 shows an original 1890s large albumen print from Enami's cataloged series of views (No.612-627) on silk production in Japan.
This ca.1900-10 example of a PHILADELPHIA MUSEUMS gelatin silver print shows how the original was copied and cropped down to remove Enami's bottom number and title, while attempting to lightly obliterate the in-photo number as well.
The PHILADELPHIA MUSEUMS published many such views by Enami and others, especially images depicting silk, tea, and rice production. They were mounted on heavy gray or black boards having descriptive backs.
(18) The establishment of at least three Asian branch studios outside of Japan and its annexed territories (one Japanese written source mentions an Enami branch studio in HONG KONG, and Enami's directory ads also mention two branches in the PHILIPPINES).
Until data is uncovered that would prove otherwise, it now seems that Enami was the only "international operator" among his more famous contemporaries.
Less than a handful of other Japanese photographers operated small, local studios in the Japanese-annexed countries of Korea and Taiwan, none of them being branches of a studio based in Japan proper. Further, these ex-pat studios were not known to have indulged in direct commercial work. However, it is possible that they did supply some images to the late-Meiji-era postcard publishers back in Japan proper ;
The Poor Wise Man Resting on The Road-side in Old China. Ca.1900 Lantern-slide image by Enami.
(19) Enami made the only commercial images of other Asian countries to be advertised and sold out of a Japanese-based studio, including stereoviews of the Philippines, Singapore, Hong Kong and many regions of China.
ENAMI'S MEIJI-ERA PRINT CATALOG LISTED OVER 100 LARGE ALBUMEN PRINTS OF THE PHILIPPINES. THEY WERE ALSO AVAILABLE AS LANTERN-SLIDES.
His branch studios at Dagupan and Manila served both foreign and domestic clientele, with special attention given to members of the U.S. Military.
Here's a fine example of one of Enami's Philippine franchise studios catering to an American family who was crossing the Pacific from the USA to CHINA :
DOROTHY MARY HOVEL, aged 7 1/2 months, seated on the lap of her father, THOMAS HOVEL. From a "snapshot" taken on the Saloon Deck of the America Mail Ship PERU while crossing the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco to Shanghai in August 1901. They are returning to their home in China after vacationing in the United States. (From manuscript notes found on the back).
To have the above image made, Thomas Hovel would have brought his film to Enami's Manila studio in the Philippines for processing and mounting as the ship lay at anchor during one of several trans-Pacific port calls. [See this service description back up in No.2 on this list.]
Although images of US Military stationed in the Philippines during this time are known, the above Enami cabinet view is an extremely rare example of a personal shipboard image taken on the high seas. It is one of only two such Enami-processed images known from the Meiji-era (1868-1912). The other (also a cabinet view, and in the collections of the Nagasaki University Library) is a "buddy shot" of some sailors on board a ship in Yokohama Harbor.
The above photograph remains a rare family treasure in the Sandy McPeak Collection, and is shown nearly full size. I would like to thank her for her kind permission to post it here. By the way, Sandy is the grand-daughter of little Dorothy seen in the photo !
IN CHINA, KOREA, AND ON THE JAPANESE HOME-FRONT, AS AN IMPERIAL ARMY
(20) 2-D and 3-D photographs from home and abroad taken during the Russo-Japan war while Enami served as an Imperial Army Photographer ;
The only surviving T. Enami stereoview proof-print that shows General Nogi at the commemoration of a huge Russo-Japan War Memorial in Japan.Enami published two stereoviews picturing the victorious Nogi, who committed ritual suicide with his wife, upon the death of Emperor Meiji in 1912.
COLORIST AND IMAGE SUPPLIER FOR BURTON HOLMES
(21) A large portion of the colorful realism of Burton Holmes lantern-slides was born in Enami's Yokohama studio. His studio was one of the first employed by Holmes to add the careful, detailedhand-tinting to the international image content of the live Travelogue lectures.
This great old stereoview of Burton Holmes seen below was taken by an unknown Keystone View Company photographer --- not by T. Enami ; Burton Holmes in real 3-D, ca.1925. Holmes was a longtime acquaintance of T. Enami, and utilized many of Enami's images in all of his printed and projected presentations during his long career. Read an explosive anecdote of a Holmes photographic mishap in Japan during the Meiji era HERE.
(22) And it wasn't just the Holmes slide shows that featured the work of Enami. A respectable portion of the Japan images appearing in Burton Holmes multi-volumeTravelogues book sets were also by Enami.
The earlier multi-volume editions published during the late Meiji-era carefully credited 20 of "Burton Holmes Photos" to Enami, with another 6 unaccredited images now confirmed to be from Enami's cataloged portfolio --- for a total of 26 known T. Enami views.
Holmes also used 24 Kimbei views, 20 Tamamura views, and 3 by K. Ogawa. Interstingly, Holmes use 48 amateur photos taken by a local Yokohama merchant --- American OTIS POOLE.
In the end, although the Travelogues title pages read, "With Illustrations from Photographs by the Author", Burton Holmes actually took less than half of the images appearing throughout his Japan narrative. Later editions of the books completely and inexplicably stripped the photographers credits from the photos, leaving readers with the unwarranted belief that everything on the pages of his book were "...Photographs by the Author".
This beautiful Mt. Fuji snow scene by T. Enami is from an original lantern-slide in the Webmaster's collection However, another original copy is also housed in the Burton Holmes Collection, and was used by Holmes over the years. It appears printed BACKWARDS in two recently-published books, including the otherwise excellent Genoa Caldwell book, BURTON HOLMES TRAVELOGUES (Koln, Germany. TASCHEN, 2006). It is shown above in its correct orientation. Photo described more fully HERE.
INTERNATIONAL SUPPLIER OF STEREOVIEWS
(23) SIX MAJOR STEREOVIEW SETS published in America were all photographed by Enami :
(a) The 100-view real-photo set of JAPAN stereoviews published by T.W. INGERSOLL,
(b) The 100-view real-photo set of JAPAN stereoviews published byGRIFFITH & GRIFFITH of Philadelphia,
The below illustration is one of many different Sears Catalog ads for 3-D Japan sets published from 1904 to 1910.
(d) The 100-view real-photo set of JAPAN stereoviews published by E.W. KELLEY (a later, better quality re-issue of the Ingersoll set),
(e) The 100-view real-photo set of JAPAN stereoviews published by PRESCO BINOCULAR CO. (a later better quality re-issue of the Ingersoll set).
(f) The 50-view set of 3-color half-tones numbered 1001 to 1050. This set was published from T. ENAMI negatives held by Griffith & Griffith, and has the best coloring of all litho-view sets marketed. All of the views use different images than those appearing in the above listed (c) Sears, Roebuck & Co sets.
OLD COLOR 3-D LITHO-VIEWS (HALFTONES) OF JAPAN PROPER THAT DON'T PROVIDE PHOTOGRAPHER CREDIT SOMEWHERE ON THE MOUNT WERE ALLPHOTOGRAPHED BY T. ENAMI !
SEE ITEMS (c) AND (f) ABOVE FOR JUST TWO EXAMPLES OF MANY ENAMI LITHO-VIEW SERIES.
WITH SO MANY OF THESE OLD SETS BEING BROKEN UP INTO ODD LOTS, THAT MEANS NOT A DAY GOES BY WITHOUT A MOUNTAIN OF OLD T. ENAMI STEREOVIEWS BEING OFFERED ON....
(NOTE: Most all color litho-views of RUSSO-JAPAN WAR scenes found on eBay and elsewhere [in spite of many being copyright by T.W. Ingersoll] were actually photographed by a young reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle named RICHARD BARRY. Barry was able to take some good pointers from veteran 3-D photographer JAMES RICALTON --- chief photographer for Underwood & Underwood --- with whom he traveled while covering the war on the battlefields of China. Enami also photographed Russo-Japan War subjects, but they never appear as litho-views)
BELOW: Sample images showing how Enami's popular negatives were sometimes passed around from publisher to publisher...bought, sold, leased and loaned.
And in EUROPE, the stereoview sets described below.
(24) A special 24-view 3-D postcard set published by the old French stereoview firm L.L. (Levy & Family) was composed entirely of Enami stereoview. Found in both black & white and tinted editions. There is some evidence that these sets were also sold at theLouvre Art Museumin Paris ;
(25) The popular German-published NPG STEREOVIEW SETS of 50 and 100 Japan views, all of them by Enami, were found on (a) double-weight photographic paper [see illustration], (b) embossed black card mounts, and (c) on standard mounts. This series was later picked up by other German publishers, furthering the distribution of Enami's images ;
BELOW: An original untransposed stereo proof-print from Enami's studio, and a finished and mounted hand-colored view. These close variants were taken only minutes apart on the Negishi Tidal Flats off Cape Honmoku, just a few kilometers south of Yokohama. The negative chosen for Enami's finished print is the same one used for the German NPG prints seen above.
NOTE: The above series of stereoviews (as well as many other minor series that utilized his images, whose publishers are not mentioned here) werethe only popular 3-D sets published in the West that showed Japan from a Japanese photographer's point of view.
"QUICK PACKS" FOR TOURISTS
(26) Special "raw photo packets", being a selection of (for example) two-dozen of Enami's images in black-and-white,intended for tourists who wanted to augment their own "Kodak moments" when putting together snap-shot albums upon return home. These photos could be had in different sizes --- from half-stereoview contact prints, to 4" x 6" enlargements ;
Sample images from a post-1923 Enami "Snapshot" pack, and the envelope.
A JUNIOR WHO SURPASSED HIS SENIORS
(27) A fine series of credited, Meiji-era Mt. Fuji images appearing in the large foliobook Fuji San, published in 1912 (Meiji 45) by his teacher and friend, the famous K. Ogawa. Of the 24 full-plate images, eleven were by Enami, outnumbering the image counts of the other two contributors -- the well know K. Tamamura, and those taken by the publisher himself, K. Ogawa ;
LEFT : The image on the left is made from the full half-stereoview negative that was also used to make the hand-colored lantern slide appearing near the top of this page. Both prints are made from half-stereoview negatives.
BELOW : Landscape format through dead trees. Enami also took a stereoview version which he published as a lantern slide.
For a complete look at all of the plates in the above FUJI SAN, please see the fine presentation at George Baxley's Website HERE.
ENAMI IN GOLD !
(28) Several Enami images were converted to GOLD PHOTOGRAPHS by photographer Hanbe Mizuno, who was famous for his patented "Pure Gold Lacquer Photographs".
Mizuno was active before Enami opened his studio, and patented his process on December 26th, 1891.
These images were somewhat analogous to Tintypes, in that the dark areas of the print were actually the black lacquered base upon which the continuous-tone images were fixed. However, unlike Tintypes, the image highlights were pure gold, and the base was a thicker panel of wood rather than a thin sheet of lacquered "tin".
Obviously, due to the heavy use of gold, the cost of these images far exceeded that of a tintype. The finished images, at about 8 x 10 inches, were also larger than the average tintype.
Mizuno made gold lacquer photo panels for (1) stand-alone decorative wall hangings, and (2) as recessed panel embellishments for the album covers of many photographers, including (on occasion) those of T. Enami.
Although Mizuno is said to have been a photographer who converted his own images, he has been wrongly credited for images taken by Enami, Tamamura, and others, due to his stamp appearing on the back of the conversion work he did for them [see illustration] ;
CLASSIC 3-D USED AROUND THE WORLD
(29) Enami was the photographer behind Japan's largest series of Meiji-era SUMO WRESTLING photographs found in all 2-D and 3-D formats.
With some exceptions, all of the major commercial Japanese photographers during the Meiji-era offered at least one or two shots of Sumo Wrestlers locked in various grips, or in their victory poses.
While I have yet to identify even one from the Studio of K. TAMAMURA, his rival just a few city blocks over --- the great KIMBEI KUSAKABE --- offered eight large albumen prints of unidentified wrestlers in his huge 1893 catalog of over 1,300 views.
However, Enami blew them all out of the water with a large series of 25 albumen prints showing all stages of the sport. Enami's coverage is rivaled only by an earlier, extensive series of rare and expensive Sumo images photographed jointly by WILLIAM K. BURTON and SEIBEI KAJIMA.
However, unlike the BURTON-KAJIMA images, the large majority of Enami's special 1890s Sumo series identified the major players and champions appearing in the photographs.
Further, Enami offered a small series of eight stereoviews depicting scenes of rural Sumo matches. As far is known, this is the largest group of Sumo titles offered amongst the many competing 3-D publishers in old Japan.
The view shown above is number S 363 from Enami's 3-D Catalog. That, and the crop below, are just more examples of the beauty and quality of Enami's work in small-format images. You can view these wrestlers at full screen size at the ACTIONS button over the Flickr image posted HERE.
(30) Enami composed 3-D images that attracted even the most seasoned professional stereo-photographers. A few tookcollections of his views back to their own countries, allowing only the work of Enami to augment their own published visions of Japan.
The resulting"mixed series" that utilized at least a few T. ENAMI views included several sets issuedby Underwood & Underwood, C.H. Graves' Universal Photo Art Co., Lynn Skeels' Stereo-Travel Co.,and a good percent of the Japan view published by George Rose of Australia. All of these 3-D publications werein addition to the "pure" Enami series mentioned in No.'s (23), (24), and (25) above ;
A very nice 1898-1900 T. Enami stereoview image published by George Rose in 1904 on his own Australian mount. Rose is believed to have acquired his Enami images directly from Enami himself. More about Rose and Enami will be found in the story text way down below.
ENAMI CONQUERS THE BRITISH EMPIRE...
WRONG NAME !
(31) Enami was behind the largest contribution of Japanese illustrations for Sir J.A. Hammerton's multi-volume PEOPLES OF ALL NATIONS [London. Fleetway House, 1922].
One of the eight color plates from the book described below, and the effusive caption describing the loveliness of Japan's GEISHA. This 1922 three-color halftone was made from a ca.1898-1908 half-stereoview negative. Below are two examples of about 30 b/w Enami images that appear in the same volume.
At least 35 images (including eight full-color plates) were taken directly from T. Enami images. Unfortunately, in an inexplicable turn of events, all were wrongly credited to the Rev. Walter Weston, who had penned the Japan text for Hammerton.
Hammerton's autobiography implies an initial press run of 400,000 JAPAN sections.Going throughmany popular editions, the number is thought to have reachedinto the millions, all sold throughout America and the British Empire ;
Two of about 30 b/w halftone Enami images appearing in Hammerton's PEOPLES OF ALL NATIONS. Enami's portfolio covered a wide range of Japan's culture, customs, and occupations. A valuable archive or art and document covering the 1890s to the 1920s.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE
Last on my list, but perhaps the most telling about how his photographic ability was perceived by his peers at the time, Enami was....
(32) A member of that special alumni of photographers whose credited photographs have appeared on the pages of National Geographic Magazinein Enamis case, at least four issues.
Further, in 1988 the Corcoran Gallery of Art and the National Geographic Societyposthumously honored him by using one of his half-stereoview images as the sole inset photographon the first-edition cover of their monumental 100th anniversary exhibition book Odyssey: The Art of Photography at National Geographic.
ABOVE: Book cover showing T. Enami inset photo. See No.(32) in list just above.
The beautiful undersea photo surrounding Enami's old image is by DAVID DOUBILET, and remains under his copyright. Please see his amazing world of images HERE.
BELOW: Enami's own crop for a beautiful ca.1898-1907 hand-tinted lantern slide version.
BELOW : An original 19th Century full stereoview version of the above lantern-slide and Odyssey book cover inset. The same stereoview was also availableas a hand-tinted view.
The Photographic Historical Society of Canada also used this image as a full back-cover illustration for their May-June 1990 issue of Photographic Canadiana.
The tones and hues of every view were different depending on the mood and fancy of the studio colorist on the day the slide or print order was filled. An original version of the above slide is also in the collections of the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. Although their version seems to have been taken at a different hour, and under a different sky, it is the same view. Enami's studio was where art and photography always seemed to meet in an agreeable fashion.
The below stereoview was also sold as a popular 3-color lithograph by the Griffith & Griffith Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
".....WOW ! ENAMI LEFT HIS MARK ALL OVER THE WORLD ! BUT, I'M NOT REALLY INTERESTED IN HIS AMAZING STEREOVIEWS, OR HIS WORK-OF-ART LANTERN SLIDES; I LIKE BIG PHOTOS THAT CAN I HANG ON MY WALL, OR IN A GALLERY.
SO...HOW MANY LARGE FORMAT, ALBUMEN PRINT TITLES DID ENAMI PUBLISH ?....."
There are a few folks out there who --- not wanting to be encumbered with stereoscopes, slide projectors, and other enlarging gizmos --- tend to think that "bigger is better" when it comes to photographs in the raw, and therefore focus on acquiring (or valuing) the large-format albumen prints over the lantern-slides and stereoviews. Here is a basic accounting for those of you want hard data and real numbers when thinking about what might be out there to collect when building your collection of old Japanese albumen prints.
Enami's Commercial View List contains a total of 861 Photos available as hand-colored albumen prints or Lantern Slides.
I would conservatively estimate at least 10,000 titles out there by all of the main Tokyo and Yokohama commercial studios...in both Black & White & Hand Colored versions.
With each one having been made perhaps many times during the life of a studio, that probably will give you more than one chance to acquire any given image.
Did one get away from you at an auction? Wait a while, and you will probably have another chance at the same image from another dealer --- maybe even a better print than what you thought you just lost forever.
In any case, this Website is about T. ENAMI, so let's start with a closer look at his catalog, and then mention a few others to get you started with the possible numbers.
Enami's ca.1900 Print & Lantern-Slide Catalog [for images derived from full-plate negatives] lists 861 titles of JAPAN VIEWS between No.1 and No.1062 --- the highest number known. The discrepancy between actual photo count and highest negative number indicates that about 19% of possible existing titles were either edited out for various reason, or the number slots were never filled in the first place --- if the missing number slots were due to editing, reasons for the loss could be damaged negatives, close variants held as back-up in case of breakage, poor sellers, or images that Enami didn't like for one reason or another.
Of Enami's 861 2-D views, 307 of them 36% were what can be called "People Views", mostly consisting of OCCUPATIONAL, COSTUMES, CRAFTS, GEISHA, and other "JAPANESE CUSTOMS" type of images. The rest of the cataloged views were of the CITY, TOWN, and SCENIC COUNTRYSIDE genre.
By way of contrast, only 30% of Kimbei Kusakabe's published views 417 out of 1380 were of the PEOPLE and OCCUPATIONS type images.
Enami's focus on people would continue grow, forming an ever-increasing percentage of images as he expanded into the stereoview format. Well over half of his stereoviews (and the lantern-slides made from them) are of close, people-inclusive subjects, and mark Enami's style long after the days of "Yokohama Album Views" had passed.
In fact, during the Taisho period (1912-26), the percentage of Enami's PEOPLE photographs grew to such a point that they made up nearly the entire bulk of his portfolio.
New SCENIC images were so scarce that if a customer wanted some, Enami had to pull out his older Meiji-era negatives !
NUMBER CRUNCHING : THE REALITY BEHIND OLD JAPANESE PHOTO-CATALOG AND VIEW-LIST NUMBERS....
Long before Enami produced his own catalog, the famous photographer Kimbei Kusakabe was advertising his stock as having "2,000 Views". Yet, who knows how many negatives he really had, including variants ?
Kimbei's 1893 printed catalog catalog lists view titles running from No.1 through 2068, followed by another 24 "E" numbers for his EARTHQUAKE series, and another 10 "S" numbers for his SILK series. Without looking closely at the catalog, it certainly seemed like Kimbei had a portfolio of 2,102 album-view titles !
Further, it is known that Kimbei actually reshot many of his older street and scenic views in an effort to keep up with the rapid development of Japan's urban areas and key tourist spots. This would obviously swell his negative archive, allowing customers the option of choosing from among more than one print for many of his catalog numbers.
However, let's look closely at Kimbei's 1893 catalog.
2,102 VIEWS ???
A closer look reveals that Kimbei's advertised catalog list was actually full of holes to the tune of 722 missing views. Not only are whole chunks of numbers and consecutive groups missing --- including a glaring "Grand Canyon" jump between No.1685 and No.2001 -- evidence suggests that the 68 numbered Mammoth prints he offers are simply enlargements of titles already listed elsewhere.
Like Enami who came after him, Kimbei had also edited his negatives for a variety of reasons. His 1893 catalog either edited out or never filled over 34% of his number slots (way more than Enami's 19%), leaving customers with a highly reduced selection of 1,380 views to choose from -- if we include the Mammoth print selection.
If we eliminate the 68 listed Mammoth Prints as possible repeats (as the evidence suggests), then Kimbei's true offering drops even further to 1,312 titles --- 790 views short of what his high negative numbers implied to the customer.
On the other hand, although T. Enami did have a complementary catalog, he never mentioned numbers in his known studio advertisements.
Nowadays, nobody is obsessive-compulsively concerned with the real numbers and titles of either Kimbei's or Enami's output --- or any other photographer's negative count from those early days.
Today, All that matters is whether the print(s) in question appeal to the collector or buyer. And in Kimbei's case, his generally artistic compositions, generally dark, rich printing, and generally careful coloring make for some of the best and most beautiful images from old Japan. I say "generally" because even Kimbei and his Studio workers had their run of bad days.
I will also say that Kimbei's print processing (printing, fixing, and washing) has generally stood the test of time better than the views of T. Enami.
In any case, even with such massive gaps in his numbering system, Kimbei still had more views to offer than Enami's own 861 available titles. We must also keep in mind that Kimbei had been at it for 12 years longer than Enami, honing his skills in both composition and processing. Kimbei also had the advantage of acquiring many negatives from the illustrious foreigners he once worked for and closely observed --- Beato, and Stillfried.
Enami's next-door neighbor, the illustrious Kozaburo TAMAMURA --- who advertised "Over 1,200 Views", and whose highest known negative/title number is 1253 --- has less than 600 images (580 at last count) that can confidently be attributed to him today.
The high title/negative numbers currently known [Bennett, 2006 Data Guide] for other well-known album view makers is subject to the same caution :
Reiji ESAKI (1951), Seibei KAJIMA (1655), Sashichi OGAWA (1645) Shinichi SUZUKI the Elder (1252), Shinichi SUZUKI the Younger (1139), Shusaburo USUI (1513), and Matsusaburo YOKOYAMA (1361).
Without a catalog, none of these high view numbers should delude any new collector or archivist into thinking that's exactly how many different photos are possible to find for each of these photographers.
Sometimes, the truth is quite the opposite, with a good example being the 1252 top negative number [listed by Bennett] of Shinichi SUZUKI the Elder --- note that his numbers started with No. 1001 !
There are also a massive number of large albumen images held in collections or offered at auctions that, long ago, had the titles and numbers trimmed off prior to mounting (usually for aesthetic reasons). Without captioned images, published catalogs, labeled album covers, or back-stamped provenance of the various Meiji-era photographers to help us make attribution, we are left with the slow process of learning photographer attribution by identifying studio props, or the lucky times when the images are used and credited in old books and periodicals.
In light of this, T. ENAMI is well ahead of the game with a carefully spelled out portfolio offering 861 LARGE ALBUMEN view titles (probably 900 or more when older, discontinued numbers and switched-out, up-dated images are added to the whole), and over 1000 STEREOVIEW titles.
The true total of Enami's published commercial views -- including all stereoviews, lantern-slides, and later "street photo" stock views would eventually almost triple the entire commercial offering of Kimbei's own long-lived studio.
It is regrettable that a combination of time and Enami's methods of processing his albumen prints have diminished the original quality of much of his larger images found today --- in contrast to the near-eternal beauty of his lantern-slides and stereoviews.
In spite of that general assessment, the occasional group of richly printed and preserved albumen prints may still be found. As already mentioned, during the time when he was active, Enami's freshly-made images of both artistic and documentary value were held in high esteem by collectors, publishers, and (most tellingly) other photographers around the world.
* * *
The Goldfish Seller. Ca.1915-22
Two Geisha in the Genkyu Gardens of Hikone. Ca.1898-1910
*HAND COLORING PHOTOGRAPHS of OLD JAPAN*
The above b/w view is a close crop from a much larger T. ENAMI half-tone image published in England in 1904, which was itself reproduced from an original ca.1895-97 large albumen print.
No doubt, a sharply printed and finely colored original albumen copy will eventually come to light in some collection.
THE STUDIO STAFF
It's nice to see the photo "representing" Enami's photo-finishing team being made up of equal parts men and women. I have no idea about the whole extent of his studio staff at this early time. After Enami's death in 1929, the darkroom/colorist staff was down to about 4 people working under Enami's son, Tamotsu.
On the other hand, while he was busy helping his friend KOZABURO TAMAMURA fill an order for over 1,000,000 hand-colored albumen prints in 1896-97, the colorists probably far exceeded the 'token few" pictured here.
The above photo also appears on the flickr.com site HERE
Out of almost 900 full-plate images listed in his early catalog, only two were devoted to capturing the actual photographic production work in his studio. The above is either number 806 or 807.
Enami's two "Studio Colorist" documentary photos seen in partial catalog context.
Unfortunately, in the above image, Enami's number and caption (short title) might have been removed from the bottom of the view by the British publisher --- that is to say, if the data was there at all. The original photo might have been missing the number and title prior to arriving in England, as buyers would sometimes ask Enami to trim that from the photo prior to mounting it in the album.
Due to the variety of sizes and formats Enami placed in the posed scene, I consider it one of the finest Japanese "Photo Production" studio scenes ever taken during either the Edo-Bakumatsu or Meiji era --- that is, from the beginning of Japanese Photographic History until 1912 --- or even after that.
Here's a more careful description to help you appreciate it :
WHAT YOU CAN SEE
On the floor to the left is a stack of Enami's earliest STEREOVIEWS. The man seated to the left is working on rough, BOUND ALBUM PRINTS. On the floor and table, both mounted and unmounted (untrimmed) albumen prints are in various stages of finish, including the visibly CURLED ALBUMEN PRINTS prior to mounting on heavy board. The standing man holds what appears to be an 11" x 17" FOLIO SIZE image, and in the background on both sides may be seen IMPERIAL, MAMMOTH(18" x 22") or LARGER SIZE prints -- some loose, and some matted and ready to go.
WHAT YOU CAN'T SEE
It is probably important to note what is MISSING as well. (Enami had so much going on, he didn't have room for it all in one shot!). Enami's other COMMERCIAL items not seen here are CABINET SIZE ALBUM VIEWS for the smaller book and accordion style souvenir albums. Further, Enami's rather large output of LANTERN-SLIDES during this time are not represented. NON-COMMERCIAL (PRIVATE) studio work is also not seen here. That would include portrait work appearing on any number of his IMPRINTED CABINET MOUNTS, or the "wallet size" portraits found on CARTE DE VISITE (CDV) studio mounts.
In effect, although the above image is probably the "best and busiest" such production shot you will ever see, it still only covers a portion of the larger output of his Meiji-era studio.
RELATED VIEWS BY OTHER PHOTOGRAPHERS
Another fine "studio colorist" shot of a similar theme may can be seen in the Nagasaki University Library Collection HERE, showing three women doing all the work. Below is another excellent old albumen view by an unknown photographer showing an abundance of "paint dishes" spread out on the low tables as the colorists go about their work.
Notice the array of flat saucers to hold the various water-color /aniline dyes. It is said that each person was responsible for a certain range of colors, passing the picture "down the line" until complete -- no one person completing a photograph alone.
Coloring albumen photographs. Ca.1885-95. Photographer unknown.
All such "Photo Colorist" views from the Meiji era form part of a very small but valuable "set" of Japanese studio photographica that give us a general idea of how the coloring was done. However, it is the T. Enami view that shows us the greatest variety of albumen "print-stages" and formats.
CONVERTING BLACK & WHITE TO COLOR
The colorists were true artists, and could transform any b/w print, slide, or stereoview into a delicate work of great beauty, as evidenced by the two version above. The total cost for 100 of these highly detailed, hand-tinted stereoviews 110 years ago ? 28 YEN !
Ca.1898 Teaching Monkey. It might look like monkey business, but from his professional beginning in 1892, T. Enami was both serious and friendly with his camera and his customers. Enami shot a few variants of the above session -- the only one I've seen where he has live animals in the studio! George Rose was taken with this subject, and obtained a variant copy negative to publish on his own imprinted mounts down in Australia : GEORGE ROSE VIEW No.6121 JAPANESE WOMAN AND HER PERFORMING MONKEY.
PHOTOS WITHIN A PHOTO
The above 3-D image features just a few of Enami's many studio props. Notice the large board on the right with three photographs on it. This is actually a portable space divider -- an important item still used today in many native Japanese restaurants for separating areas where patrons sit on the floor around low tables.
The divider seen here is constructed with multiple format openings to double as a photographic gallery for Enami's large albumen prints. This is an early example of what is now a common "picture frame" concept in the West for displaying multiple family photos on the wall.
THE THREE PROP ALBUMENS :
(1) The large albumen print behind the circular opening in the upper right of the divider is Enami's close portrait of #782 WISTERIA BLOSSOMS. The same photo may be seen HERE as an Enami-published lantern-slide.
(2) The water-way scene at the bottom left is a variant of Enami view #311 FUJI FROM TAGONOURA seen HERE.
(3) On the left side of the divider is #675 A GIRL IN THE SNOW. The same image was given a circular matte and issued as the lantern-slide seen below. Enami also issued it later with a square matte seen HERE, where some of the technical differences between the two issues are described.
These three images were taken by Enami ca.1892-95.
MORE IMAGES IN A SCROLLING GALLERY
Over 250 T. Enami photographs are used throughout this site—the same amount of pictures you would find in more than FIVE standard Japanese souvenir photo album during the 19th Century !
The combined total of all ENAMI photographs found on the world's websites represent only a fraction of the 1000s of titles he photographed over his lifetime -- known titles and numbers in all formats indicate a figure approaching 3000 commercial images still possible to discover and collect today.
The images used here, and the massive T. ENAMI COLLECTION posted on flickr.com HERE, have been randomly chosen from a variety of sources to illustrate his style and artistic sensibilities over a range of formats during 1892-1928 -- the years when he was commercially active in his own studio.
Ca.1892-95. The Umbrella maker. Hand tinted lantern-slide.
Ca.1898-1907. Mt. Fuji and the Firewood Stackers.
Ca.1898-1907 A Tea House Room
Ca.1898-1907. The Fuel Wood Dealers. Straw Sandals on both women and horses. For two other posted prints showing density and crop differences, as well as a link to more HORSE BOOTIES, please click HERE.
Ca.1892-95. The Charcoal Carrier. Hand tinted lantern-slide
And a General Practitioner of Every Other Format Popular in his Day
The Artist himself ! Circa 1898 self portrait of T. Enami in his Yokohama studio. This is one of at least two known variants originally photographed in 3-D. The other is at the top of this page. Photographer Herbert Ponting sent this and many other Enami images back to the USA to be published along with his own stereoviews taken in 1901 and early 1902. Good self-portraits of Japanese photographers from the Meiji era are hard to come by; this is certainly one of the better ones. If you have entered this Website via a direct link to this page, you can can also see a formal portrait of Enami taken about ten years later, at the top of the homepage HERE --- as well as numerous other vintage Enami views below it.
The following story is an entirely different presentation and discussion of T. Enami than that found in the Searching for T. Enami biographical essay, and the Index of Japan-Related Stereoview Photographers and Publishers, which formed a part of the larger contents of Terry Bennett's Old Japanese Photographs: Collectors' Data Guide (London: Quaritch, 2006). Both of those contributions were written by the webmaster at Bennett's request. I had been a long-time fan of T. Enami's beautiful stereoviews, and Bennett also knew I had been collecting and researching old Japanese stereoviews in general for nearly thirty years. Yet without his kindly prodding me to write down in some encyclopedic form what I knew on the subject, I would not have dug as deep, nor been led to discover things about Enami that surprised even me.
While the information presented on this site lacks the more comprehensive "behind the scenes" material found in Bennett's Data Guide, especially the image and data-gathering process for T. Enami, it does complement other important historical and technical information found there. Bennett's recent books are highly recommended for the wealth of material they contains on literally 100s of photographers like Enami.
Although complete acknowledgments for the Enami story are given in Bennett's book, four names should be attached to the Web version offered here: T. Enamis grandson, Keisuke and his wife Ryoko; and great-grandson Hiroaki and wife Chiemi. As I write this, all are continuing residents of Yokohama. It is because of their kindness and cooperation in supplying thefamily history ofNobukuni and Tamotsu (clearing up the confusion of names and relationships that had plagued researchers for many years), that the story of T. Enami could be correctly written. Any errors in the commentary, and the inevitable typos that will be found are those of my own, and not those who kindly contributed.
Ca.1898 Group of Babysitters. Classic Enami image used by countless publishers around the world in both 2-D and 3-D versions. The common Underwood version seen below(position #3 in their copyright 1904, 100-view set) is a variant showing central girl facing the camera.
T. Enami (1859-1929) was one of Japan's most successful photographers during the Meiji and Taisho eras. While offering many of the same services and productions as his contemporaries, he also engaged in other activities that made him unique. Further, Enami was the only Japanese professional photographer known to have worked in all artistic and commercial formats of his time.
He was one of only a few photographers born in Japan's old Edo period to successfully grow out of his roots as a traditional maker of the classic, large-format "Yokohama Shashin" albums, finding new techniques and modes of expression that were ahead of his time.
Over the years, he became a living link between the style of the early Meiji-period masters, and the sensibilities of the "Taisho Art" pictorial movement in the early 20th Century.
Hard working, hands on, and a photographer's photographer in every sense of the word, Enami never retired until death itself put a cap on his lens at the age of seventy. When his ashes were finally laid to rest in a small Buddhist cemetery in Tokyo, he left behind a body of work, both artistic and documentary, that captured the people's life and times, and the changing landscapes through three eras of Japanese history.
His last images, culminating with scenes of Japanese society during the first four years of the Showa era under Emperor Hirohito, were a far cry from the sensibilities and style that launched his career during the early years of the Meiji era. This interesting evolution with the camera added further dimension to all that he did.
Finally, while there are plenty of old Japanese photographers including Enamithat provide us with enough biography and graphic material to picture their lives as artists and documentarians, Enami is outstanding as one of the fewwho also provides us with an importantwindow for understanding the changing tastes andbusiness side of Photography in a country that had only recently learned to connect with the world at large.
Ca.1898. After the Snowfall. Winter in Yokohama. From a stereoview.
Concerning his presence in the Far East, while many Japanese photographers forsook their homeland to relocate and operate studios in other lucrative, foreign ports of Asia, Enami was the only Japanese photographer to remain based in Japan while simultaneously operating foreign franchise studiostwo in the Philippines, and one in Hong Kong.
Concerning stereoviews, although many Japanese photographers and publishers including Enami sold 3-D images to native customers and tourists in Japan, only Enami distributed his stereoscopic images to overseas publishersmainly in North America, Europe, and Australia.
In connection with this, Enami would also lay hold of another distinctionbeing the first Japanese photographer to make lantern-slides from half-stereoviews as a standard product. Enami apparently undertook this activity before the American companies of Underwood, H.C. White, and Keystone started doing the same.
In terms of production values and care for the "stereo window", no other photographer or publisher in Japan ever exceeded the quality of Enami's stereoviewsespecially those that were hand-tinted.
Although Enami passed away in 1929, his studio continued selling his photographs until 1945. By that time, more people in the world had seen photographs of Japan by T. Enami than they did those of the more famous Beato, Stillfried, Farsari, Ogawa, Kimbei, and Tamamura combined. The energetic Enami accomplished most of this and more from his small but busy studio at No.9 Benten Street in Yokohama. He was, in all respects, truly a photographers' photographer.
In spite of the above description of such a prolific and honored artist, until recently, mention of Enamis name, and examples of his work have been quietly missing from the many English language books about early Japanese photography. However, when eminent Japanese photo-historian Saito Takio published his important Yokohama listing of sixty-three notable Japanese photographers in Meiji no Nihon (Yokohama: Yurindo, 1990), it was T. Enami who shared the spotlight with Tamamura Kozaburo and Kusakabe Kimbei as one of the top three Meiji-era photographers in terms of lines of data and biographical sources given by Saito.
Amazingly, although Professor Saito was familiar with the images of Tamamura and Kimbei, he had never seen an identified Enami photograph. It was simply the amount of written sources mentioning Enami that allowed Saito to place himphotos unseenon the podium with those other two well-known figures.
As with Saito's dilemma of having only Enami's name via business directory data, while possessing absolutely no photographic evidence for the man, this circumstance reflected the situation of other archives holding Japanese photographic works. With rare exception, institutions and research collections with dedicated Asian holdings were lacking any identified, meaningful, or organized body of Enamis work. On the other hand, popular Photo-Histories, exhibitions, and "coffee table books" about old Japan continued to rehash the productions of the usual gang of sixBeato, Stillfried, Ogawa, Kimbei, Farsari, and Tamamuraworking their images to the bone. This was not entirely the fault of collectors or curators. Original imprints and publication credits sometimes did accompany Enami's images, but, as with many of the early artists, Enamis work was (and still is) often found without these helpful provenances. In one extreme case, an entire gallery of his views was published in a press run of millions, but with the photo credit lines all given to the wrong photographer!
It is hoped that the short history presented here, along with Bennetts Data Guide, will act as an aid in identifying Enamis images. In due time, with his work understood and appreciated, perhaps Enami will also get rehashed and worked to the boneas a long overdue member of a newly enlarged gang of seven, and as one who exercised his love of photography far beyond the roots he shared with those other gentlemen of greater photographic fame and fortune.
THE STORY BEGINS.
T. Enami was born Enami Nobukuni on 17 February, 1859 in the city of Tokyo (then called Edo or Yedo). Like many of his well-known contemporaries, Enami was an "old timer" who came into the world during the Bakumatsu era, when the Shogun and various military vassals ruled Japan. Men wore their hair up in top-knots, "rickshaws" were yet to be seen on the streets, and the Meiji-era restoration of the Emperor was still almost ten years away.
Auspiciously, 1859 was also the year Yokohama opened its port to the world, and when Pierre Rossier arrived to photograph the first commercial images of Japana set of 25 stereoviews for the British firm of Negretti & Zambra.
Virtually nothing is known of Enamis early years. As a young boy, he probably never imagined he would see three Emperors ascend to the Chrysanthemum throne, or that he would spend most of his life with a camera, capturing the people and places of Japan during three of the four tumultuous eras his long life would touch on. However, at some point he was drawn to the world of photography, and that's where we are again able to pick up the story.
T. ENAMI and K. OGAWA
Enami appears on the scene in his mid-to-late twenties as a student of the pioneering photographer and collotypist, K.Ogawa, eventually becoming one of his assistants. It is possible that Enami was the camera operator behind some of the images credited to Ogawa's studio, as he had already developed a skilled technique by the time he launched out on his own.
The above description of Enami as a Student of Ogawa naturally brings to mind a picture of an "Elder Master" taking a "Young Novice" under his wing. But in fact, Ogawa was born in 1860, making Enami his senior by a year! Further, they were both still in their 20s, and their relationship probably hinged on a different spirit than that which would have been established under the strictures of the old Bakumatsu era.
It is not surprising to find that the already "internationalized" and younger Ogawa (who had developed a degree Western sensibilities during his time as a student of photography in America) had no qualms about teaching his "older brother" Enami both the art and rapidly changing science of photography. It is possible that he sensed from the start that "latecomer" Enami had something of his own artistic sentiments and business sense. One might also wonder if there was already an established friendship existing between the two. In any event, the elder was taught by the younger, and in the end, although their creative paths took different directions, their eventual professional equality led to a life-long cooperation and friendship.
After leaving Tokyo to set up his own commercial studio in Yokohama, and his talent and reputation on solid footing, Enami continued to meet over the years with his "younger brother and teacher", as well as with the many other professional acquaintances who formed a part of the Ogawa Alumni Association.
Strangely, Ogawa and Enami would also share the same year of death -- their long, remarkable, and intertwined lives would coincidentally come to a close in 1929.
A NEW STUDIO and a NEW NAME
At age thirty-three, Enami moved from Tokyo to Yokohama, establishing his first studio at No.9 Benten-Dori (Benten Street) in April 1892. Benten Street was one of Japan's most famous international shopping districts, and a virtual "Photographers Row" of famous studio names, including the location of Kusakabe Kimbei's first studio.
It is not known how Enami gained his prime spot along this important thoroughfare, or how he financed the establishment of his fledgling studio with all of the building modifications, props, and equipment needed. Without discounting the possibility that Enami had some independent wealth to rely on, it is possible to speculate that the highly successful K. Ogawa had a part in sponsoring the launch of his former student. In any case, the timing and location was right, and Enami appears to have been successful from the start.
Although his given name (first name) was Nobukuni, he began his business by taking the professional trade name of T. Enaminot N. Enami. It appears that the T stood for Toshi, an alternate "name reading" of Nobu, the first Chinese character of his name. The name T. Enami, and all studio-related advertising, documents and ephemera would be done in English, or "Romanized Japanese" using the alphabet. Only in the Yokohama phone books and business directories would his studio appear listed in the Japanese languageusing his real given name Nobukuni.
Six months after the studio opened, his first son Tamotsu was born. Tamotsu would eventually take over the T. Enami Photographic Studio in 1929. Later researchers confronted with these two names thought that Tamotsu Enami was the full name of T. Enami, resulting in the fathers photographs being attributed to his son. However, the father and son shared the T only by coincidence. To further complicate matters, Enamis first wife (mother of Tamotsu) died soon after the birth of Tamotsu. Enami later remarried, and his second wife bore him a son whom they named Tomojiroanother T !
All that can be said of Enami's love for the letter T is that it led many photo-researchers astray.
Philbert Ono of the PhotoGuide Japan website and co-author Edward A. Wright were the first to publish comments about the T. Enami name dilemma. Colorful and informative, the article first appeared in the Japanese magazine Daruma in 1997. Phil has also written a concise, one-page Enami "snapshot" combining data from this site, with his own interesting speculations about why Enami might have been so keen on naming his sons with the letter T. Phil also shows the various Japanese characters used to write these names. See his concise statement on Enami, followed on the same page by the original Ono/Wright 1997 illustrated Daruma article HERE.
Enami's studio at No.9 was a few doors down from the already-famous Tamamura Kozaburo located at No.2. Enamis senior by three years, Tamamura had opened his first studio in Tokyo at age eighteen, and had moved to Benten Street nine years before Enami arrived.
Tamamura and Enami shared some similarities of experience and situation. Both of them hailed from Tokyo. Like contemporaries R. Esaki and S. Kajima, they had gained their original training under Japanese photographers.
Enami, as already mentioned, had trained under K. Ogawa, while Tamamura had learned from G. Kanemaru, whose studio was in the Asakusa district.
His purely native apprenticeship contrasted sharply with the rest of the Bakumatsu-era-born fraternity of cameramensuch as Ueno, Shimooka, Uchida, Kimbei, and K. Ogawawho had received partial or complete instructions in photography under Western teachers both at home and abroad.
THE "BRINKLEY SETS"
Tamamura had not been a student of K. Ogawa, yet he was drawn into his profession circle, and seemed to have an "honorary" place in Ogawa's "Alumni Association". Like Enami, Tamamura maintained a close and friendly relationship with Ogawa, and apparently, with Kimbei as well.
The camera craft of these four men would occasionally be found together in both domestic and international works of photographic artthe most well known being the multi-volume Brinkley sets of Japan: Described and Illustrated by the Japanese (Millet: Boston, Various editions 1897-1910). In these large folio volumes it is unfortunate that only K. Ogawa is given distinct credit for his photographic contributions--the beautifully colored colloytpefrontispiece images of flowers.
However, it was the unnamed Tamamura who many photo histories tell us was responsible for organizing the effort to supply what several sources say eventually amounted to over one million (!) hand-colored albumen photos, all to be used over a several-year period as tipped-in illustrations for the body of the various Brinkley editionsthe better ones requiring 260 of these real photos to be pasted in by hand.
Although documentation exists that seems to cleary certify the fact that Tamamura was really the one stuck with the huge job of filling the order, based on the images that are now found in the Brinkley sets, I question whether Tamamura was the one who chose the images. This question is alluded to below in a discussion about one of the images --- an autumn park scene along the Takinogawa (river) in Tokyo. Photo historian Denise Bethel has also published remarks that imply the choice of photos was partly in the hands of an American publishers representative who visited Japan for the purpose. This will all be expounded on in hard copy at a later date.
In any case, the photos were decided on, and Tamamura became a very busy man filling the "order of a lifetime"
Beside an army of over 350 sun-printers and colorists, Tamamura also enlisted the help of a few better-known photographers to supply images in addition to his own. Along with K. Ogawa, Tamamura, Kimbei (and surely others), Enami's photographs form a substantial part of both the larger matted images, as well as the smaller views pasted directly onto the text pages. Interestingly, the leading full-size matted photograph in all of the setsthe volume-one scene of Mt. Fuji with boaters in the foregroundis by T.Enami, being one of his earliest 1892-95 images. Here it is below, showing part of the green paper mount.
ABOVE: MOUNT FUJI AS SEEN FROM KASHIWABARA. By T. Enami. Volume 1, First matted large albumen photograph in all of the ten-volume editions of Brinkley's 1897 JAPAN - DESCRIBED AND ILLUSTRATED BY THE JAPANESE.For use in the Brinkley sets, the title and Enami's own image number 310 were trimmed from the bottom margin of the photo. The database for the Nagasaki University Library says that this photo was taken by Hanbei Muzuno. This is a common misunderstanding due to the fact that Mizuno converted some of T. Enami's images (as well as the images of others) into Gold Lacquer Photographs for album covers and display pieces. These conversions are backstamped with Mizuno's wetstamp, thus, the confusion. See the Nagasaki University image HERE.
BELOW: The same print as seen above, yet given different treatment for placement in a 50-view tourist album for sale directly from Enami's studio in Yokohama. The red-purple hue on the summit is a fine touch not seen one even the best of Kimbei's views of Mt. Fuji. This color is reflects a fleeting moment that occasionally appears on the slopes of Fuji, and is discussed HERE.
On a technical note, although there were many "Editions" produced by the publisher, the "better sets" all contained 60 large, hand-tinted and matted albumen prints such as the Mt. Fuji scene above, and 200 smaller "postcard"sized hand-tinted albumen prints tipped into spaces prepared for them on the printed text pages. However, during production of the sets, many images were "switched out" using photos made from both (1) close variants, and (2) totally different negatives having content that conformed to the fixed captions already pre-printed on the pages.
Except for only one paragraph in the Introduction that was altered between many of the editions, the main body of the text was printed from the same page blocks for all of the editions. For the cheaper halftone editions, only the captions were changed, and halftone photos were placed within the same spot that had been formerly left blank in the better editions to allow for the pasting in of the hand-colored, albumen photographs.
I have personally seen and counted the hand-tinted albumen images in about ten different complete sets (and there are many more Editions that I have not examined). Making comparisons where I could, I discovered that 333 different negatives were variously used to fill the 260 positions reserved for the photographic illustrations. If we include the 192 new photographs (out of 198 total) used to make the black and white half-tone illustrations for the cheaper editions, the total image stock used by the publisher rises to 530 photos ! This number can only be expected to grow as more sets are carefully compared.
To date, more than 40 of these large and small images have been identified as having come from the studio of T. Enami, making his work the largest body of verified, photographer-attributed images in the "Brinkley sets". This number is also expected to rise as more of Enami's verified images become available to match with the Brinkley content.
[NOTE : With the help of collector Tom Burnett, I am currently trying to pin down as many KIMBEI views as possible, beyond the the ones already known. Although many Kimbei views in the sets are already known to collectors, further identification of some of his more obscure, seldom-seen images will possibly (probably?) raise his known contributions to a number rivaling or exceeding the prominent position now held by Enami].
A "SWITCHED OUT" VARIANT PHOTOGRAPH, AND QUESTIONS RAISED BY COMPARING THE SIMILAR IMAGES OF MANY PHOTOGRAPHERS
Although Tamamura usually --- and wrongly --- gets the credit for all or most of the images used in the Brinkley sets (in spite of the fact that "in photo" identified KIMBEI KUSAKABE images were also used), the publisher in Boston sometimes made choices that switched one image for that of another photographer.
Shown below is an example of a switched out (or traded) image. This image by a photographer that is still unknown to me appears as a smaller, tipped in albumens in most of the better Brinkley sets :
[View of Oji in Tokyo, along the Takinogawa -- The "Waterfall River"]
However, for the "Best" Emperor's Edition (limited to 75 sets), the publishers pulled the rather drab, boring view seen above, and replaced it with T. ENAMI'S version of the same location --- number 295 "MAPLES OJI TOKYO" seen here :
MAPLES OJI TOKIO by T. Enami Catalog No.295
Taken on a different date, and from a slightly different standpoint, it offered a surprising burst of sunlight through the Maple leaves.
Other such substitutions may be seen throughout many of the better Brinkley sets, bringing the total to over 330 different albumen images used to variously fill the 260 captioned spaces reserved for them throughout the ten volumes.
However, such image substitution begs some serious questions. If Tamamura was really the one that chose (edited) the photo content, and appointed other photographers to print up their best or most interesting shots, why did Tamamura supply boring images, when more interesting material was widely available ? Further, why would he enlist another photographer to supply an image when he, Tamamura, had a better one taken by himself ?
Here is Tamamura's own stock image, which was never used. Compare it with the first drab image above, and render your own judgment :
TAKINOGAWA NEAR TOKYO. By K. Tamamura. No.988
Further, if Tamamura hated Enami's burst of sunlight, and wanted three girls on the bridge instead of two, he could have also gone with the FARSARI Studio image seen below, which arguably has a better composition --- grabbing the same tree that Enami grabbed on the right (but without the burst of sunlight) and a better foreground :
MAPLES (AUTUMN). By A. Farsari. No. H43
The coloring done by the Farsari Studio is, well...very colorful. But, what about the illustrious KIMBEI ? Many Kimbei images were also used in the Brinkley sets, and he was the real Master of them all. Did he ever take a shot of the above scene? He sure did. Not once, but twice! Here's the first one :
Autumn View of Maples, Oji. By K. Kimbei. Catalog No.637
What? This is the best Kimbei could do? These images are all starting to look alike, and, based on what I've seen so far, would personally prefer Enami's sunburst through the maple leaves (or Farsari's attack of color) to what Tamamura, or even the great Kimbei has provided.
Apparently, Kimbei (along with one other photographer) came to the same conclusion. I will show you the results of both photographers, but first, Kimbei's second go-around at re-capturing this location.
Possibly feeling a need to depart from the "sameness" he found himself sharing with others concerning this image (except for Enami's sunburst view, which was probably taken later), and to keep his reputation intact as the "elder artist", Kimbei dragged himself back to this spot and re-evaluated the scene.
Kimbei decided to move his camera back a few more feet to include a tree on the left, and placed a Geisha in the foreground as well. The resulting layered depth to the same distant bridge --- while sacrificing the prominence of what was supposed to be the main subject of "Bridge over a Pond" --- made for a much more interesting shot :
AUTUMN VIEW OF MAPLES, OJI TOKIO. By K. Kimbei. Catalog No.723
Concerning all of the above images, I regret to say that none of the photographers --- including Enami --- took advantage of the foreground staging area......except for two of the old Masters, Kimbei Kusakabe, and Seibei Kajima.
Kajima moved his camera back even farther than Kimbei's standpoint, and took the below photo with a Geisha placement remarkably similar to Kimbei's shot. I will leave it up to your own artistic sense as to whom took the better view :
AUTUMN VIEW OF MAPLES, OJI, TOKIO. By S. Kajima No.399
Interestingly, T. Enami would become a sort of "Kimbei of Stereoviews". As Kimbei (and Kajima) did in the above photos, Enami would do in 3-D --- backing off from the main subject in order to include foreground material that other stereographers would ignore.
However, when it came to the old "classic" albumen prints made for the tourist albums, it is obvious that the elder and more experienced photographers still knew how"strut their stuff" among their younger contemporaries.
While looking through the many different editions of the beautiful Brinkley sets, I continue to wonder why the "better" or "best" cataloged works of the Yokohama and Tokyo photographers --- including the more interesting works by Enami --- were not used to better effect.
To Enami's credit, he did what the others shown above did not do. Enami returned with a stereo camera to capture the bridge and surrounding scene from many angles, giving us an accurate, three-dimensional grasp of what the place really looked like over 100 years ago.
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MORE OF ENAMI'S EARLY WORK FOUND IN THE BRINKLEY SETS
ABOVE: One of many ca 1892-1895 Enami views that were tipped into the various 1897 editions of Brinkley's monumental, multi-volume Japan sets. In sharp contrast to the freedom of his later work, much of his earlier studio images such as this followed the conventional line in themes, props, poses. Once Enami got hooked on the stereoview format, he began to loosen up, and his images began evolving to take advantage of the new possibilities provided by a real world with true depth. Although taking to 3-D like the proverbial duck to water, Enami was always careful to keep his compositions simple and artistic. This allowed for the successful conversion of most of his stereo negatives to effective 2-D lantern-slides, and prints of all sizes.
BELOW: An early lantern-slide by Enami utilizing another of his studio backdrops. Like the image above, this ca.1892-95 studio composition was one of many chosen by Tamamura for inclusion in the Brinkley Japan sets.
BELOW: The 1897 Brinkley EMPEROR'S EDITION of Japan: Described and Illustrated by the Japanese. This set of 12 folio-sized volumes is covered with embroidered silk. The first 10 volumes contained the 260 tipped in albumen photographs. The last two contained tipped in tissue-gravures, numerous works of original art, and real ukiyo-e prints -- including those by the master Hokusai. There were many 10-volume versions with varying degrees of quality and content. Inexpensive versions reduced the amount of full-size matted albumen views, while replacing the smaller albumen images with almost totally different black-and-white halftones.
Here are just a few more of the many postcard-sized Enami albumen photographs found tipped into the Brinkley sets......
ABOVE: Ca.1892-95. Four different hand-tinted, postcard-sized, tipped-in albumen views. These are only a few of the 20-some smaller Enami images identified so far among the many photographs appearing in the better Brinkley Japan sets. Studio views are easier to identify by his props and backgrounds. However, notice the identifying numbers from Enami's studio still visible in some of the prints. It is thought that many more are his, especially among the scenic views. Only careful matching with his known album images will tell the rest of the story as time goes by.
BELOW: Ca.1892-95. "Starving Geisha at a Noodle Eating Contest". (the title is mine). This T. Enami image was never used as an albumen print, being one of at least 15 Enami views appearing only as halftones in the lesser-quality versions of the Brinkley sets.
NOTE : For a more detailed discussion of the physical appearance of these BRINKLEY SETS, and probably the largest on-line display of their image content, the extensive website produced by GEORGE BAXLEY is the best place to go. George is one of the most meticulous fellows around, and presents not only comprehensive view lists, but also well-written overviews detailing the differences between the better-known major and minor sets. Although he has many pages relating to various aspects of the sets, and even a nice page devoted to the Flower Collotypes of K. Ogawa,you can start HERE with a look at his YEDO EDITION page. Simply follow his links for more editions and view lists.
IN TRANSITION FROM 2-D to 3-D
By the time the episode of the Brinkley Japan sets had arrived, Enami had already been working diligentlythough in relative anonymityfor five years, producing all formats of studio portraits for walk-in customers, and a variety of commercial formats. These included bound albums of tinted photographs, and glass lantern-slides made from the album views. The years 1895-97 also appears to be the time that Enami began dabbling in what would eventually become his great love that saw wide distribution: the stereoview.
Most of the 3-D images appearing here were photographed between 1898 and 1908. This is known by copyright dates assigned to variant views issued by Enami's American publishers. Almost 200 are known that can be accurately dated as taken prior to 1900.
Unbeknownst to many is the fact that his famous teacher, K. Ogawa was also a stereo-photographer. During the 1885-1890 years when Enami was learning and assisting, Ogawa photographed a large series of over 100 cabinet-sized stereoviewshis early imprint and studio address being found on the back. This direct exposure to the wonders of the stereoscope under a teacher mostly remembered as being King of the Collotype no doubt contributed to Enamis later success with the stereo-camera.
Raw contract proof from an untransposed stereo-negative, and a finished, transposed stereoview from a variant negative taken during the same session. While scrolling around this website, the girl in the "Flying Cranes" obi in the top view may be seen in other images, and the bottom view may be seen as a lantern-slide.
MATTERS OF STYLE
A few comments about Enami's style should be touched on here. During the 37 years of his professional time behind the camera (preceeded by severalyears on top of thatwhile working with K. Ogawa),Enami's sensibilities and styles evolved. Not unlike familiar painters of the West who went through definite "periods" of technique or expression in their mediums of canvas or clay, Enami also changed in his approach to the subject, and how he portrayed the material at hand.
His photographs from the earliest years often reflect the stiffness and formality that was likewise found in most of the posed studio and outdoor studies of his contemporaries. This was, of course, partly a product of limitations imposed by exposure times, and partly a result of following accepted norms. A cursory overview of the commercial albums of the time will quickly make apparent what styles and arrangements were considered "professional" in both studio and outdoor work.
If you were to come across a very early Enami album, you would find the standard fare. Although some gems of composition stand out, more often than not, the skill of his older and more experienced contemporaries often exceeded him. However, it was only a matter of time before he wouldnaturally discoverthe styles and formats that eventually set him apart.
Ca.1895. A Farmer and his Wife. Detail from a half-stereoview. This classic image was chosen for inclusion in the important Odyssey: The Art of Photography at National Geographic(1988), where it appeared as a black-and-white, full half-stereoview. Enami shot various poses during this session, both with and without the "farmer's wife" included in the view. Besides being sold on Enami's own mounts, variants of this session were also sold by George Rose of Australia, and George Griffith of Philadelphia, USA.
It should be kept in mind that Enami was exposed to and trained under the "old school". The examples he had were the foreigners Beato, Stillfried, Farsari, and those native teachers, friends and contemporaries such as Ogawa, Kimbei, and Tamamura and others. Initially, their styles were his styles.
However, while his well-known contemporaries tended to maintain the "safe", traditionalmodes of expressionthroughout their careers, the independent-minded Enami gradually divided himself into "two photographers". On the one hand, he maintained his line of "classic" album images (which, like the rest of his competitors, certainly had its boring moments of non-descript temple views and the occasional less-than-inspired scenics), while at the same time, he was also able to free himself from any obligation to such conventions in order to develop his creativity in other formats.
Enami started posing his subjects in more natural ways, and in more natural settings. Serious geisha groups in the studio gradually became playful, friendly, and naturally posed groups in the parks and gardens of Japan. He encouraged those he was pointing the lens at to go about their business while ignoring him. In the studio, the subjects usually faced him. But "on location", he many times posed his models to face away from the camera, as if looking into the scene along with you and Enami himself. If facing you, he had them engaged in real activities rather than situations contrived in the studio where unrelated backgrounds were common. His ability to remove the self-consciousness of his subjects, and introduce less-stilted groups and children into many scenes was also important in otherwise hesitant or superstitious environments.
A good example of this transition of style and setting for a particular theme can be seen in a comparison of two images separated by only a few years. First, the studio illustration immediately above ("A Farmer and His Wife") was photographed in stereo as part of a large group of ca. 1895 studio images that began his first efforts in this format. However, the flatness of the backdrop and general confines of the studio did not escape his notice. By 1898-1900, he was going after the same themes, but with the introduction of natural settings and a pleasing perspective of subject placement. The result seen below ("Coming Home from the Fields") was a leap in style that quickly pervaded Enami's work, leaving the other "album makers" behind. His neighbor, Tamamura seemed to take note, as he followed Enami in his quest for such a style. This would later translate into the fine series of lantern-slides by T. Takaki, who would eventually take over Tamamura's Kobe City branch studio and image stock.
Ca.1898. Coming Home from the Fields. Vignette from a half-stereoview. This image, along with several other Enami views, appeared as a black-and-white, full half-stereoview in the September 1922 issue of National Geographic Magazine. Enami photographs would eventually be used as illustrations in at least four issues, their display varying anywhere from four images on a double-page spread, to full page color renditions.
Interestingly enough, in the 1920s, the National Geographic Society apparently thought Enami's older studio portrait of the "Farmer and his Wife" was too dated and unnatural to use on the pages of their naturalistic, journal-style Magazine. They put the photo away, opting instead for the naturally posed outdoor view just above to grace their pages. However, in 1988, when it came to deciding what was "art", they dug out the cramped studio view, and honored it as one of the best images of the Society's 100-year existence!
The question of when document becomes art, and visa versa, is sometimes an inexplicable event in the minds of those to whom it all matters. In either case, Enami succeeded in winning friends and clientele among both those who simply liked his photographs, and professionals who wanted Enami's images displayed along side of their own. Today, an evaluation of Enami's images reveals not only who he was as a photographer, but also the degree to which he can be called an "artist" in relationship to the changing eras in which he lived, and how, after the passage of time,we perceive the images that he and others left to us.
In any case, due to his occasional freedom of style, initial reaction to many of Enami's images sometimes places him (in the mind of the observer) into a photographic period that seemsto have come afterhis contemporariesalmost as if he was born after them, and was not a part of their world. Perhaps this is one reason why his Meiji-era 1890s work was still being used by books and magazines almost until WW2, while the dated and conservative "album work" by his more famous contemporaries--photographed during the same time period--became largely ignored by progressive Taisho and Showa-era publishers of the day.
Enami was not the only one to have these abilities, but he was certainly one of just a few during the 1890s to produce commercial images reflecting the natural pace and poses of life in Japan. As for technique, he began clearing away the wider margins from his scenes, and moved in for tighter, closely cropped groups and "occupationals". The 1901 Japanese stereoviews published by Ben Kilburn (photographer unknown) came closest in style to Enami, yet Enami had already attained this style and feel years before Kilburn's photographer arrived in Japan.
Finally, while trekking the length of the Empire to capture scenes of both commercial and artistic value, he had no qualms about jumping off the beaten path to photograph odd, unusual, and fleeting moments that appealed to him as a photographer. For example, while taking beautiful commercial views of Mount Fuji that tourists snapped up, he also hiked into rough and forsaken areas at the base of the cone to capture the half-dead and twisted trees, exposing the rough, uninviting desolation of the place. Many of his proof-sheets hold images that have never been found commercially issued. Yet some of these are now the most fascinating to look at.
In any case, unlike the standard, and often quite lovely images of Kimbei and others during their time (whose seemingly exotic studio work certainly qualifies as "art" in today's eyes), Enami cannot be pinned down to one "look" over the course of his studio's output the photographs throughout this site being ample evidence of his growing journalistic freedom with the camera.
T. ENAMI and H.G. PONTING
While discussing matters of style, it seems appropriate to mention here that during the years 1901 through 1906, visiting stereo-photographer Herbert George Ponting and T. Enami seem to have influenced each other to the point where they both tried to recapture with their own lenses the very images they admired in each others work.
This largely subjective observation deserves a whole chapter of deeper commentary, with specific examples, and will probably form an important part of the book being written about Enami.
For now, suffice it to say that certain evidence points to the two men having professional relationship. Beside the fact that Ponting acquired many of Enami's early stereoviews to augment his own images sent back to the USA for publication, they also shared the publication services of K. Ogawa in Japan.
Many of their images are strikingly similar, and it is not unreasonable to imagine that Ponting enlisted Enami's help for a photo trek through at least a part of Japan. The elder Enami could have acted as a 3-D guide while they both captured images for their own respective stocks.
The above comments remain speculative, but will be illuminated in the future.
Ca. 1898.Sanjo Bridge, Kyoto. This bridge was a popular subject for all commercial photographers. Both Japanese and Westerners never failed to photograph it for their series of album views, stereoviews, and postcards.
BELOW: After satisfying commercial needs with the above stereo-view, Enami climbed down under the bridge to capture a more intimate, deep 3-D scene of people having lunch in the shade of the bridge, the cool waters of the river flowing inches below their make-shift platforms. Although such fleeting arrangements were often swept away, the floodwaters would rarely reach the electric lights strung above, and the people would return again to the shade. [NOTE: Japan began the manufacture of light bulbs in 1890. Heading up the endeavor to bring this invention to Japan was a young Japanese man who had met Edison in the USA some years before, and was determined that his country should manufacture their own bulbs, rather than import them. It was only a short string of companies that led from this light bulb to the establishment of TOSHIBA ELECTRONICS]. SEE HALF-STEREOVIEW WITH MORE LINKS AND NOTES HERE.
ENAMI'S USE OF OTHERS IMAGES
In a world where the word "copyright" meant little, and piracy was rampant, it is fair to ask, "Did Enami ever 'pirate' the views of others?" --- the word "pirate" here meaning "to use or publish without permission, or as your own". In spite of the fact that Enami was not known to pirate, I have identified about five images that I don't believe are his, yet appear on a regular basis in his known albums.
Out of the 861 Japanese images listed in his Catalog, a couple appear to be "Public Domain" views, while a few more seem to be those purchased or used with permission. It is also possible that he included in his portfolio some images taken while in the employ of K. Ogawa, or any other interim studio he may have worked at before officially starting out on his own.
Bennett's DATA GUIDE attributes one image to USUI, and I myself believe that he might have done some trading of images by agreement with his Yokohama neighbors, Tamamura and Kimbei. Kimbei, as most curators know, was himself launched in the business with a portfolio of images that were largely not his own, and built up his own personal image stock over a period of years.
At the moment, Enami views under question are only the large format albumen prints, and amount to about five views out of a thousand. Tamamura and Kimbei's lists are fairly complete, and Enami's own images can be checked against them for any image duplication. In fact I have seen an Enami image in the portfolio of SHINICHI SUZUKI, where Suzuki has trimmed off Enami's catalog number, and added his own number to the Negative. Suzuki went out of business in 1896.
At this point, it appears that, excepting the few known images mentioned above that do appear in Enami's Catalog, it is safe to say that the vast majority Enami's numbered Japan images -- 99% -- are his own.
If and when this information is published in hard copy, I will show the very few "Enami Views" that I don't believe are by him, while showing the in-photo evidence that seems to point to others being behind the lens
Unfortunately, he did receive the back-handed compliment of having his own images pirated on numerous occasions by other Japanese publishers, and distributed as inferior quality views that included both flat prints and stereoviews. Compare the four sets of stereoviews below, and make your own judgment !
ABOVE : REAL and FAKE. NAITO, TOKKIO, MURAYAMA were among many publishers that were notorious pirates of others images. While Naito boldy proclaims himself on the front, TOKKIO CO, hid their log on the back, and MURAYAMA went so far as to put his own initials right in the copy negatives (!). Always remember that an ENAMI imprinted stereoview is truly from Enami's studio.
ABOVE : REAL and OBVIOUS FAKE
ABOVE : AUTHORIZED AMERICAN RE-PRINT by T.W. Ingersoll, and a JAPANESE PIRATE OF AN ENAMI VARIANT SOLD IN JAPAN.
ABOVE : A real T. ENAMI view, and a CHEAP PIRATE COPY by the TOKKIO COMPANY of TOKYO.
By the turn of the century, Enami had established his first overseas branch studio in Hong Kong, followed closely by two studios in the Philippinesat Dagupan and Manila. Here again, the camera-toting Enami sets himself apart by engaging in activity unique among his contemporaries. A survey of all Japanese Photographer and Studio advertisements for the entire Meiji-era finds T. Enami expanding his local dark-room work to include a portfolio of images beyond the shores of Japan, making him the only Japan-based photographer to advertise both stock photographs and stereoviews of the Philippines, as well as several locations throughout China.
After examining the few Enami images now identified from China and the Philippines, it appears that Enami took the actual commercial images of these locations that appeared for sale in his Yokohama studio.
On the other hand, personal portraits and images such as the one shown to the right were probably taken by the studio photographers appointed by Enami. Other images might also be the work of amateurs, and simply processed and mounted by the studios.
The "professionalism" of any image in question, as well as whether the subject is of a "genre" nature or a personal memento, should help in making a tentative judgment as to who was behind the camera.
Also at this critical turn-of-the-century time, Enami's stereoview series of Japan were becoming popular in several countries, and both T.W. Ingersoll (Saint Paul, Minnesota) and Griffith & Griffith (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) offered 100s of Enami titlesall unaccreditedsold by door-to-door canvassers across the USA and Canada. Meanwhile, back in Japan, Enami's beautifully tinted lantern-slides made from half-stereoviews were in demand by businessmen, missionaries, and the wealthier tourists passing through. His negative stock for classic album views already exceeded 1000 (and possibly over 1500) titles at this time, and was probably matched or exceeded by the title list for the far more useful stereoviews.
All of this attracted the attention of a certain young American who had gotten a severe bug for two things: Travel and Photography. Let's talk about him for a moment before getting back to Enami and his stereoviews....
Here, we drag Burton Holmes of Travelogue fame into the story. Holmes made his first visit to Japan in 1892the same year Enami opened his studio in Yokohama. Holmes made at least ten visits to Japan over the course of the years, and was a great photographer in his own right. He also got to see and know the reputation of Japanese photographers as well.
By 1900still early in his careerhe knew he needed the finest color images for the Travelogues upon which his own reputation was being built. For this, he relied on the artistic abilities of two American womenand the studios of two Japanese men. These men were T. Enami and K. Tamamurastill good friends, fresh from cooperating on the Brinkley Japan projectand in Burton Holmes opinion, the finest colorists in Japan. By this association, Enami's images also found their way into the Burton Holmes Collection of lantern-slides seen by the masses of people who thronged to his lectures.
A quick look at the Enami images Holmes selected for his Travelogue publications reveal a highly conservative bent on the part of Holmes, who went for many of Enami's very early, straightforward street scenes and temple views.
In the earliest editions of the multi-volume Travelogue sets, Holmes was careful to credit Enami and the other photographers whose images appeared in his fine series books. At least twenty of Enami's photos are verified this way, with a few more slipping by without credit. Unfortunately, in later editions where the publisher had changed hands, all photographer credits were inexplicably erased from the printing plates. This less-than-ethical move added undeserved weight to the "With Illustrations from Photographs by the Author" banner claim of the Title Page. However, biographer Genoa Caldwell is emphatic about Holmes personal record of always giving proper, public credit to the photographers whose images played on the screen along with his own.
Amazingly, Enami is resurrected again with the leading photograph for the Japan chapter of Caldwell's beautiful book Burton Holmes Travelogues - The Greatest Traveler of His Time. 1892-1952 (Taschen 2006) on page 200. This Enami image of Mt. Fuji is one of several he shot in the area, and appears in the book with the image reversed left-for-right. This is also one of many Enami views in the Holmes Collection whose proper credit mysteriously disappeared as the collection and its documentation changes hands over the years.
Although Holmes was not a stereo-photographer, he eventually became editor of Keystone View Company's Tour of the World stereoview sets in the 1920s and 30s. That gave him plenty of time to look at the many Enami stereoviews that by now had come to reside in the Keystone image bank...bringing us back to the story of the international use of Enami's stereoviews.
JAPAN'S 3-D PHOTOGRAPHER...
TO THE WORLD !
With exotic Japan always in the News for one thing or another, and the unceasingly popular Gilbert & Sullivans Mikado continuing to make the rounds of the worlds theaters, the rush for images of "Fairy Land Japan" was at its peak. From 1900 to 1910, Enami's 3D images were published as real-photos in full or in part by Griffith & Griffith, and T.W. Ingersoll, C.H. Graves, Underwood & Underwood, George Rose of Australia, E.W. Kelly, Presco, Stereo-Travel Co, German NPG, Universal Stereoscope, and many other odd makers spread throughout North America and Europe.
During this time, the old French firm of LLLeon & Family (formerly Leon & Levy)offered a collotype postcard series of two-dozen Enami stereoviews. These views were even sold by the Louvre Museum in Parisa name synonymous with all that is art.
In the early days, while the 100s of Japan views in the Griffith and Ingersoll lines were made up entirely of T. Enami images, only H.C. White Co. and Keystone View Co. did not purchase any Enami negatives for their files. However, by virtue of Keystones later acquisition of many older publishers, Keystone eventually did put at least one or more popular Enami views into their home, school, and travel sets. It is possible that others in the later Keystone lines will be recognized as the work of Enami.
When the Russo-Japan War broke out in 1904, Enami, already in his 40s, joined the Imperial Army as a military photographer. His many wartime photographs were published in at least one Japanese book, and his stereoviews of home-front activities found their way into the still booming market for stereoviews.
Australian stereo-photographer George Rose visited Japan, Korea, and China at the height of the "war fever". Rose was a skilled and artistic photographer, and normally did not rely on others to fill out his view lists. However, his time in Japan was limited, preventing him from taking the many months necessary for a full 3-D tour. Impressed with Enami's images, he appears to have made some sort of deal with Enami to obtain full-plate 3-D copy negatives or prints to cover some of the areas and subjects he missed. Rose returned "down under" with this selection of Enami's older peacetime images that nicely filled out his own line of stereoviews taken while in Japan. He carefully reworked the negatives to fit his larger cabinet format, and added easy-to-read "stereo-captions".
1906 ad for Sears set of 100 T. Enami lithographic stereoviews. The woodcut engravings of the sample stereoviews are still identifyable as T. Enami images.
Although the first Sears Roebuck & Co. offering of Enami images was in a small 1904 set, in 1905 they wanted to offer a new and more extensive line of Japan stereoviews for sale in their "Big Book" catalog, which was already seeing a press-run of over 6,000,000 copies per issue. After obtaining rights from Ingersoll to 100 of Enami's stereoviews, they converted the relatively expensive real-photo originals into cheap, three-color lithographs. Boxed up in 100-view sets with great catalog fanfare, they were sold in untold numbers across America. For almost five years, this was one of Sears best-selling stereoview items.
Even today, these colored 3D lithographs remain ubiquitous finds in flea markets. In fact, any half-tone litho-view by any publisher of a Japan proper imageas long as it does not have an H.C. White copyright on itis from a photograph by T. Enami. Not a day goes by without several of these T. Enami stereoviews being listed on eBayT. Enamis name being understandably absent from the sellers description.
Of course, Enami himself had no control over the quality of these litho-viewsthe sometimes gaudy coloring was not his, and, looked at through the stereoscope, the half-tone dots might as well have been polka-dots. However, they remain valuable for showing Enami's studio props and a portion of his inventoryall extremely important in helping to identify his real-photo images found on both classic stereoviews, and incredibly detailed lantern-slides.
Although Enami continued to offer stereoviewsapparently until 1923the boom had leveled off by about 1910. As the 3-D market diminished, the demand for postcards, which had really taken off during the 1900-1910 period, appeared to keep growing. Enami, who was always on top of the latest photographic trends, probably contributed to the mass of images found on Japanese scenic postcards found from this period. His views have been identified on many series, both Japanese and foreign.
GOODBYE TO THE MEIJI ERA
1912 was the last year of the Meiji era, and also the first year of the Taisho era. Just prior to the death of Emperor Meiji, Enamis old teacher, K. Ogawa, decided to publish a plate book of Mount Fuji photographs. Besides selecting his own best images of Mt. Fuji for inclusion in the new book, Ogawa invited only two other Japanese photographers to contributeTamamura, and Enami. When the new folio-sized FUJI SAN appeared (Tokyo: Ogawa Photo Press, 1912), Ogawa had used seven of his own images, with Tamamura having been allowed six. However, Enami had been given the most attention with eleven of his credited photographs on display. Curators take notewhile collectors today fawn over the works of K. Ogawa, it was Ogawa who fawned over photographs by Enami. Thus was the esteem that Ogawa held for Enamiand these winning images were all taken from half-stereoviews.
OLD STUDIOS FADE.
ENAMI DIGS IN.
When Japan entered the Taisho era (1912-26), Enami had beyond all doubt established himself as the Japanese King of the small-format image. He emerged successfully from his humble start in 1892 when surrounded by the already famous, well-established souvenir album makers of the time. Enami's continued strength in the photography market seemed to be found in fulfilling a continuing demand for his well-regarded small-format images.
In 1914, the Imperial Japan Government Railways published their English language Official Guide to North-Eastern Japan.
For tourists needing photographic services, they listed several studios in Yokohama. Besides Enami, the list also included the venerable studios of Farsari, Kimbei, and Tamamura.
However, while these others received only a posting of name and address, Enamis listing was given added notice of Colored Lantern-slides, Stereoscopic Views the two things that he had become noted for.
These glass slides (again, many being made from the stereoviews and album images he took during the 1895-1905 late-Meiji period) were well used by missionary organizations and educational services.
See the full STEREOVIEW of the above image HERE.
INTO THE HANDS OF MILLIONS
Most professional free-lance, journal and nature photographers would be happy having their photographs appear even once on the pages of National Geographic Magazine. During his life, and even after his death, Enamis images appeared in at least four issues. He was alive two see the first two, when in 1921 and 1922, his (mostly) now-credited photos landed on the pages of this yellow-bordered journal of the worlds finest photography. Although the Society made every effort to credit their photographs correctly, a few Enami images slipped by with either no credit, or credit went to a Society member who supplied the images upon their return from Japan. Many more of his photographs quietly joined the Society's bank of unpublished images, where they would be rediscovered over fifty years later.
A New York Times supplement devoted a full page to one of his Mt. Fuji compositions. His good friend, British missionary, photographer, and mountaineer Walter Weston also had two books coming up that would use Enami's images in both color and black-and-white.
1922 was also the year when prolific British editor Sir John Hammerton chose over thirty black-and-white and color T. Enami images to illustrate the Japan chapter of his seven-volume Peoples of all Nations (London: Fleetway House, 1922). In addition to the in-text illustrations by Enami (and others), Hammerton also selected eight of Enami's half-stereoviews to be reproduced as full-page, hand-colored plates. A color, full-plate Enami image was also chosen as the frontispiece for the later two-volume abridgment.
These various versions became best sellers, and put Enami's images into the hands ofmillions ofsubscribers in America and all the countries of the British Empire. Unfortunately, a great injustice occurred when Hammerton credited all of the images to Walter Weston, who had passed them to Hammerton on behalf of Enami. Ironically, Weston himself was always careful to credit Enami in his own works.
1922. Enami, in his early 60's, was at the top of his game. Via lantern-slides and printed publications, his images of Japan were experiencing an unprecedented distribution around the world. As for classic real-photo prints, the late photo-historian Frances Fralin stated, "Enami was known to have submitted pictures to several international photo salons held in the United States".
"Things Japanese" were a great subject for anyone's camera, but lovers of good photography never seemed to tire of acquiring Enami's particular visions of his own land and people. Age had neither diminished his love of photography, nor interfered with his business acumen in finding every opportunity to distribute these images. But now, Enami's abilities and stamina were about to be tested.
Arashiyama River and the Moon Crossing Bridge at Kyoto. Ca.1898-1907
September 1st, 1923. Noon. The Great Kanto Plains Earthquake was one of the largest recorded quakes in the history of Japan. Books were written about it then, and are still being written now. In Yokohama and Tokyo, 140,000 to 160,000 souls were either crushed to death, burned beyond recognition, or had the air sucked from their lungs, suffocating them in the whirlwind firestorm that followed in the hours after the initial quake brought everything down.
Although T. Enami and his entire family escaped in the confusing mass exodus that ensued immediately following the collapse of the buildings, in the fire that followed hours later, his Studio of over twenty one years was wiped off the map. In England, Walter Weston would soon bring attention to Enamis talent, as well as his plight. Writing in the introduction to his book Japan (London: A&C Black, 1926) Weston would state, The handsomely reproduced illustrations (with the exceptions of those otherwise indicated) are from beautifully coloured lantern-slides produced by my old and valued helper, T. Enami, of Yokohama, in the studio that subsequently vanished in the fire following the earthquake of 1923. Looking down over the destruction of Yokohama bt Earthquake and Fire in September 1923. Enami's studio was located roughly in the middle of the photo. A two-part postcard panorama. Photographer unknown. Right-click and "view image" for a better look.
Was Enami or his staff able to grab any boxes of contact prints or proof sheets from what might have been only a partially damaged building? The immense stores of glass negatives, even if not broken, must have been too heavy to carry away to safety in the mad rush of people fleeing the distant walls of approaching flames. The image that comes to mind is a sea of molten glass on the floor of his ruined studio, melted by the fires that raged after the Earthquake. No one knows the particulars, but the property at No.9 Benten Street was gone forever. However, Enami refused to let his name and Studio die.
From the introduction to Walter Weston's 1926 JAPAN.
RESURRECTION and FINAL DAYS
We know from surviving data that by the end of 1925, Enami had established a temporary studio at a new location (No.241) on the still recovering Benten Street. Apparently, the location and conditions were less than ideal. However, sometime between early 1926 and late 1929, he settled on a final property at No.29, only a block away from his original No.9 location. In any case, it was apparently not until after Emperor Hirohito's 1926 ascension to the throne (ushering in the Showa era) that Enami opened for business at No.29 Bentendori.
TECHNICAL NOTE ! Concerning lantern-slides labeled with the No.29 Bentendori address, it is important to understand that no data exists telling us exactly when during the 1926-29 time-frame that the final studio was occupied at No.29. The annual business directories and phone books that should exist for that time frame were destroyed in WW2; it is not until the next surviving piece of data [published in late-1929, after Enami's death] that we see the studio already established and running in its final location.
Lacking clear directory data, it is possible to speculate that the final move happened as late as early-1929 (shortly after Enami died), thereby making Enami's son, Tamotsu, the processor/publisher of any and all No.29 slides. However, knowing the time-consuming business practices that revolve around such relocations, and the distractions of post-death funeral customs in Japan, it seems more likely that the No.29 Studio was already in operation before T. Enami passed away.
Further, ephemera such as the No.29 Studio letterhead (with T. Enami listed as Photographer) re-enforce the supposition that the studio was, in fact, already operating at No.29 prior to his death. Therefore, without "dating clues" that might tell us when a particular image was actually printed, it would not be unreasonable to consider a slide labeled with the No.29 Bentendori address as one having been made by T. Enami himself during the last few years prior to his death.
However, lacking clear directory data, it is simply a matter of caution to describe [in captions or catalogues] any No.29 Bentendori labeled image as "post-1929", regardless of the very real possibility that it might actually be an early-1926 to February 1929 (time of Enami's death) lantern-slide produced by the master's own hands, or at the very least, under his strict supervision.
THE IMPERIAL HOTEL -- Frank Lloyd Wright's Masterpiece in Tokyo. Ca.1924-28 Photo by T. ENAMI. Lantern-slide image probably printed by his son after 1929.
Using various means, he had re-gathered many of the early images from collections and persons outside the range of destruction. Enami probably knew many of those who had purchased collections of his photographs, including oversea publishers and photo services. Accessing these precious images (along with possible boxes of paper proofs he might have saved from the fires as he fled) gave him the needed classic stock to start over againalong with the new photographs he was taking to fill out an up-to-date view list.
Enami had risen from the ashes, and the business he knew and loved was growing again. However, his long and active life was now coming to a close. On April 16th, 1929, NobukuniT. Enamipassed away at age seventy. From age thirty-three, to the time of his death, he had never put his camera down. The boxes and bins of his studio were filled with photographic art and document touching the reigns of three Emperorsall in Enamis ever-changing styles over the course of his dedicated career. His first son, Tamotsu, at age 36, took over the studio, and his fathers legacy.
Riding Horses in Bermuda. Lantern-slide, Ca.1935. Processed and hand- colored by T. Enami's son, Tamotsu as part of a large series of Bermuda images done up in the 1930s for an unknown customer.
Tamotsu was not a photographer. From 1929 to 1945, the studio carried on primarily as a commercial photo-processing and publishing enterprise. It is possible to speculate that he also did some straight-forward portrait and "ID Photo" type work as a camera operator, yet no imprinted studio-type images from that era have ever been found to confirm such speculation. His nephew, who knew him well, remarked that he was not known as a photographer, and even if he had engaged in any picture taking, was "not really comfortable with a camera".
He did continue developing, printing, and enlarging for amateurs, as well as continuing production of his father's beautifully tinted lantern-slide setsimages taken both before and after the earthquake. Obvious amateur and foreign-subject images aside, these later issues from negatives of Enami's classic Japanese sceneswith the No.29 Bentendori address labels affixed to themcan be considered as authentically "T. Enami" as those made before his death. That is because they were still being made and tinted by the same colorists and darkroom people that worked under T. Enami's strict supervision while he was still alive.
Tamotsu is to be appreciated for the extra fifteen years of life he gave to the artistic continuance of his father's unique vision of Meiji-Taisho Japan. Because of this, many more collectors (and collections) are able to preserve and enjoy that era of Japan's history, now gone from the face of the earth.
Lotus Pond in Tokyo. Hand-colored albumen print by T. Enami ca.1892-96.
WORLD WAR TWO and BEYOND
In 1945, the American B-29 Firebombing missions of general LeMay destroyed some nine square miles of Yokohama. T. Enami's painstakingly restored negative stock once again vanished from the face of the Earth. After 53 years in business, the T. Enami studio finally came to an end.
Tamotsu survived the war. He never tried to re-gather the lost archive, as had been done following the earthquake of 1923. Instead, he laid his fathers legacy to rest in the ashes of WW2. He started from scratch on his own terms. Trying his uneasy hand at photography using whatever supplies he could scrounge, he sold what images he could to the Occupation Forcesin a way, they were another version of the wealthier, Western tourist clientle that he had always dealt with before the war.
However, Tamotsu was apparently was not so successful. Further, the Occupation Forces took over certain sections of Yokohama, and wouldn't allow him to return to Benten Street. He and his wife were forced to relocate to another part of Yokohama. There, he returned to the business he knew best, re-establishing a small photo-processing business. His always-helpful wife passed away in 1964. Tamotsu died alone and childless on August 4th, 1969, having survived in the photography business for 40 years beyond the death of his father.
During the days when he was alive and active, Enami had the respect of publishers and peers around the world. Today, photographs of any size by T. Enami have once again become highly collectible. His delicately tinted stereoviews and lantern-slides found in beautiful condition are treasured and preserved by those who own them. Even the lowly lithograph versions of his images have value as a guide to what real-photo versions are possible to find.
Perhaps one reason Enami's name became forgotten among collectors of Japanese photography was the tendency of photo-historians and curators to dwell almost exclusively on the Bakumatsu (pre-1869) period, and on later Meiji-era photographers whose fame and reputations rested largely on their production of larger flat prints and album views. In their time, these expensive albums were rarely shown outside of small circlesultimately getting buried in boxes, bookshelves, and atticsonly to await rediscovery and appreciation during the latter half of the 20th century.
No one disputes the beauty, richness and appeal of these many large Yokohama Album Views" made by the famous masters of the Meiji-eraa classic format to which Enami himself contributed well over 1000 images. However, the beauty and depth of many hand-held Daguerreotypes, Ambrotypes, and early CDV images teaches us that the small format image is also not without its makers of worthy treasures.
Cherry Blossoms on a Sepia Street in Yokohama. Ca.1892-96 print by T. Enami.
Enami, more than his peers, became taken with the visual possibilities inherent in these smaller pieces of glass and paper, eventually becoming a master of light, shadow, composition and color in this once-popular world of lantern-slides and stereoviews.
What most have forgotten is that these images, when viewed in a quality stereoscope as intended by the photographer (or projected on the screen), actually appear larger than any album view, and hold the attention of the eyes far longer. Not to mention the "Oooo" and "Ahhhhh" factors. Art, after all, is meant to illicit a response in the heart and minds of those who behold it. Those reactions, no doubt, brought great satisfaction to Enami.
In preparation for the National Geographic Society's 100th Anniversary, a staff of art and photo-historians from both the Society, and the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington DC went through the Society's massive photo archives to cull the best photographs from their one hundred year history. The resulting exhibition was cataloged in the monumental book Odyssey - The Art of Photography at National Geographic (Charlottesville: Thomasson-Grant, 1988). T. Enami's work appears twice among the almost 300 images in the book. And one of thoseJapanese Junkswas chosen as the sole inset photograph for the cover of the first edition. Originally shot in depth as an effective stereoview, it transformed well as a 2-D pictorial image long before the Japanese pictorial movement came into vogue. This image, and the full cover that contains it is posted near the TOP of this Web-page.
This posthumous honor bestowed by the editors of the National Geographic Society and the Corcoran Gallery of Art would have made his famous friend and teacher, K. Ogawa, very proud.
Ca. 1892-95. Kintai Bridge at Iwakuni. From an early, large-format albumen view by T. Enami.
Japanese woman in another photo studio looking at a cabinet view through the large lens of a finely-made Graphoscope. Ca.1905 collotype, possibly from an earlier image. The photographer is unknown, no doubt one of Enami's competitors in either Yokohama or Tokyo, and quite possibly an acquaintance and fellow-member of a professional photographers association of the time.
I offer here a few highly subjective, personal opinions regarding the various Meiji-Taisho-era Japanese photographers who worked in small format.
In the world of very early stereoviews, I am most taken with those attributed to RENJO SHIMOOKA (Published by Anthony, label credit to G.A.B.), and MATSUSABURO YOKOYAMA. The late-Meiji and Taisho-era world of stereoviews belongs to T. Enami. No one came close to Enami in his care for the stereo window, delicate hand tinting, and consistent production quality. His were not the mass-produced "assembly line" stereoviews of the 20th Century. Rather, they were "hands on" creations of an intensely personal nature from his treks around Japanthe tinted ones especially, as they took hours and days (some have said a week or more) to complete.
However, two other Japanese stereo-photographers are noteworthy for both artistic and historic images in a style totally different than that of Enami: KIYOKICHI TAKADA (Katsugakwan imprint) and HOGETSU MURAYAMA (H.G. Murayama imprint). Takada seems to have taken all of the photos he published, while Murayama's views are known to be a "mixed bag" of his own work and that of others --- not unlike the mixed output of the famous Kimbei.
The three most interesting 3D series whose photographers remain unknown are those with the Stereoscopic Photograph imprint, the International Stereoscope Association imprint, and those with the Naito imprint. All of the above, in their various eras, are the best out of 30 or so series I have looked at. As already mentioned, Enami was the first to have converted his stereoviews into lantern-slides for 2D projection.
Tokyo Industrial Expo, 1907. By, K. Takada. Unusual night views of the electric illumination, and Japan's second Ferris Wheel (the first was in Osaka in 1906).
Three examples of stereoviews published by HOGETSU MURAYAMA, ca,1900.
The three most interesting 3D series whose photographers remain unknown are those with the Stereoscopic Photograph imprint, the International Stereoscope Association imprint, and those with the Naito imprint. All of the above, in their various eras, are the best out of 30 or so series I have looked at. As already mentioned, Enami was the first to have converted his stereoviews into lantern-slides for 2D projection.
CONCERNING LANTERN SLIDES
In the world of Japanese lantern-slides, Nakajima seems to have done the best early work (his wife did the coloring). See some samples of his work at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography [GEH] HERE, and in the private Mikio Inose Collection in Japan HERE.
Late-Meiji and Taisho-era lantern-slides again belong to Enamigiven the edge by virtue of his more vibrant, detailed use of color. However, T. Takagi of Kobe made several series that rival Enamis work, and provide a different style and subject matter. Takagis compositions, and use of a more subdued color-scheme have their own artistic appeal. It is possible that some (or most) of the images Takagi sold in any format were originally those of Enami's neighbor, Tamamura Kozaburo.
Many times equally impressive, the lantern-slide work of both Enami and Takagi is worth acquiring if you are interested in this format. For a free PDF File of TAKAGI'S wonderful Lantern-Slide Catalog of over 800 images, with near-encyclopedic captions, please contact the Curator of Collections, Ms. Leigh Gleason, at the California Museum of Photography / University of California, Riverside. firstname.lastname@example.org
Another Kobe maker, Futaba, also did some nice work as well. However, it is possible that Futaba was only a publisher, re-labeling Takagi views for distribution on his own slide mounts (which are almost exact copies of Takagi's mounts!)
The T. Enami lantern-slide images posted throughout this site are standard picks that fairly portray a cross section of his work. For comparison purposes, some T. Takagi compositions in the GEH may be seen HERE, and even more Takagi and Futaba slides at Swarthmore College HERE. In defense of Takagi, the GEH postings do not represent the best of Takagi's work. However, in defense of the GEH, the Takagi images they have were given to them as a gift. (The GEH has not yet gotten around to posting examples of their fifty or more T. Enami lantern-slides).
CONCERNING FLAT PRINTS
In the broader world of "flat print" images of Japan by Japanese photographers, truly great images can be found, made by many photographers working in the direst of circumstances. My absolute favorite group of images is the series of over 300 views shot in 1873 by Shinichi Suzuki the Elder as stock images for J.R. Black's THE FAR EAST. These outdoor "Shajo" images are raw and rough in their execution, and packed with busy content unlike any other images by Japanese photographers of any era. However, as Suzuki gained fame, fortune, and a real studio, his images became conventional to the point of relative boredom.
That being said, I would rather have 100 of Suzuki's best "Shajo" images from 1873 than a thousand of Kimbei's best work. Here's a small SAMPLE.
Since Suzuki's early work is hard to come by, I happen to be partial to three other photographers in the world of still-easily-collected Japanese images : Usui, Kajima, and Kimbei. While there are the occasional questions surrounding the true photographer attributions for some (or many) of the original negatives used to make the prints often attributed to specific cameras and studios (or listed in their catalogs), Kimbei was generally the best of the best when he was at his peak. His dark prints made from crisp negatives (and colored in beautiful detail) edge out the other two for over-all greatness.
On the other hand, with some exceptions, the surviving large albumen print-work of the prolific K. Tamamura, and his neighbor T. Enami (the hero of this website) never approach the production quality of the above-named masters who hit their peak in the 1880s.
I try to convince myself that I am not an enthusiastic fan of the albumen process as a means for printing out their occasional impressive compositions that would be (or should be) considered works of art. However, those suspicious leanings usually come undone when I am confronted with a dark, richly printed image of some other-worldly subject bathed in crisp shadows and skillfully controlled light. In the world of surviving Japanese prints, such richness is rare, and albums containing such images will always command the highest prices at the auctions held by Sotheby's, Swann's, Christies, and other well known venues.
In general, I repeatedly find myself moved by two things:
First, 1890s1915 salt prints by the handful of Japanese commercial artists who resurrected this simple process during the last half of the Meiji era. Soaking their image right into the fibers of the paper (and apparently foregoing the gold-toning step for "permanence"), most of these photographers used saturating tints and token paint effects on the matte-surface, giving us real photographic "art" that holds the eye with pleasure....longer than we probably thought to look. (Did Enami experiment with salt prints? I don't know).
Second, the ca.1910s20s Taisho Art images by budding pictorialists, both known and unknown. Several fine books have been devoted to the works of those who are known A quality collection of beautiful Japanese pictorial silver-prints and gravures are possible to build over a period of time, usually at great expense. However, often ignored are the many times equally beautiful (but relatively inexpensive) collotype postcards found in this genre. Usually in monotonesvarious hues of blue, green, and sepiathey were made by talented but anonymous photographers in small runs for meager distribution. The difference between the high-end silver prints, and the humble images found on vintage postcard is simply a matter of scale.
When used as illustrations in the various publishing media, the importance of original image size and process is negated, leaving only the content to be judged for its artistic merit.
A good image in any size is always nice to find.
T. ENAMI eBay TRIVIA FACT
AT LEAST ONE OR MORE T. ENAMI LANTERN-SLIDES, PRINTS, ORSTEREOVIEWS (both REAL-PHOTO and LITHO-VIEWS) HAVE BEEN UP FOR BIDS ONeBay EVERY DAY FOR THE PAST TEN YEARS !
HOWEVER, A SEARCH FOR "ENAMI" USUALLY DOESN'T WORK, BECAUSE 99% OF THESE OLD PHOTOS ARE UNIDENTIFIED BY THE SELLERS WHO DON'T KNOW THEY ARE PHOTOGRAPHS BY ENAMI.
CA. 1898. BUTT NAKED JAPAN.[My title is revised from the original] This T. Enami view has come up on eBay several times, and is typical of some of the off-the-wall images that only he would take. Even in those Victorian times, it was considered more humorous than offensive, and was a good seller for stereoview publisherGriffith & Griffith of Philadelphia.
Images and Text Posted by Rob Oechsle / Okinawa, Japan / October 2007+
Text Copyright 2007-2011 Rob Oechsle. All rights reserved.
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