Masahisa Fukase's "Solitude of Ravens"

There is a dark, brooding beauty in these images that is singular and affecting. In The Solitude of Ravens, Fukase found a subject that reflected his darkening vision, and he pursued it with obsessive relentlessness. It remains his most powerful work, and a kind of epitaph for a life that has been even sadder and darker than the photographs suggest.

Ravens have long stood as a symbol of power in Japanese mythology, but these days they tend to be seen more as a powerful nuisance.  While their huge numbers and more aggressive nature has been just that lately in Japan, these things have been caused by a human problem in too much waste being made.  The Crow Tengu play tricks on evil-doers in spiritual roles, maybe the crows are copying them in the environmental.

The Solitude of Ravens was Masahisa Fukase’s last work before he plunged into a coma. This is a monumental and pivotal work in the history of fine art photography.

After his divorce from his wife Fukase began a search for absolution through his work which would last a decade. His images crystallize solitude and death, appropriate to his last years. He became obsessed with his subjects, with their darkness and loneliness.

 

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