Friday, 23 March 2012

146 year-old photo studio

The Tomishige photo studio in Kumamoto (in Kyushu) has claims to be the oldest still-working photo studio in the world. I was lucky to see inside on a recent trip to Kumamoto: the space is still a "high-street" portrait studio, and the walls are decorated with history. There are prints of the local castle in 1870 (mostly rebuilt in 1877), international novelists (Natsume Sōseki, Lafcadio Hearn), soldiers, historical figures and ordinary folk. Even an original sketch of a camera being built and featuring the man who became the photographer of an iconic image of Ryoma Sakamoto – a popular figure in Japan's history.

One claim was that the woman in the old photo above (bottom right) was hiding her hands in her sleeves as a protection against having her soul stolen by the photo – though that was disputed by the current owner of the studio who says it was just a Japanese style of posing.

No comments: