Kukasabe Kimbei (Japanese, 1841 – 1934)
DateLate 19th century
MediumHand-tinted albumen print
DimensionsSheet : 10 5/8 x 13 3/4 in. (26.99 x 34.92 cm)
Credit LineGift of David Kamansky and Gerald Wheaton
LabelKukasabe Kimbei learned the art of photography from Baron von Stillfried while working as one of Stillfried’s studio assistants in the 1870s. Kimbei, as he was commonly known, established his own studio in Yokohama in 1881 and later acquired Stillfried’s studio and all of his negatives when Stillfried left Japan in 1886. From that time until he retired around 1912, Kimbei was the most famous and most commercially successful photographer in Japan. He specialized in albums of genre scenes and landscapes that he sold directly to tourists and through trading companies that exported them overseas. Many of Kimbei’s photographs, such as this image of women dressing their hair, seem to have been inspired by the compositions of traditional Japanese prints and paintings.