Thursday, December 13, 2007

Katsumi Watanabe

Last year around this time I watched the Katsumi Watanabe show at Andrew Roth Gallery, entitled The Gangs of Shinjuku. Watanabe's pictures from the 60's and 70's are portraits of more or less shady characters of Kabukicho, a red light district in Tokyo. As the photographer gets commissioned to take the pictures (for a relatively low amount of money), red light hustlers and entertainers are calling the shots of how the picture is supposed to look like. Normally, it is quite unusual for photographers to allow the power shift to the model. But this commercial give and take scenario enables Watanabe to take many portraits of really interesting characters of a particular area in time.

Copyright Katsumi Watanabe

There are not many pictures displayed on the web. But there is a book available actually published by the gallery.
The Low Life and High Life, Hand in Hand by Guy Trebay here

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