The Virtually Invisible Street Photographers


It is amazing how invisible a photographer can be these days if he doesn’t have a web site, especially if he hales from a non english speaking nation. I recently found, by accident, the work of the Japanese photographer Abe Jun, I took a chance and ordered, from Japan, his book Citizens and have been delighted at his quiet understated vision of Japanese daily life filled with subtle visual echos. I don’t believe his work is well known in the west and this is probably due to the lack of any web presence that I have been able to find…he is virtually invisible. Its pretty rare to find a street photographer you didn’t know and even rarer when the work is of this standard.



Image: Abe Jun
Image: Abe Jun



Image: Abe Jun
Image: Abe Jun



Image: Abe Jun
Image: Abe Jun



Image: Abe Jun
Image: Abe Jun



Image: Abe Jun
Image: Abe Jun



Image: Abe Jun
Image: Abe Jun



Image: Abe Jun
Image: Abe Jun



Image: Abe Jun
Image: Abe Jun



Image: Abe Jun
Image: Abe Jun



Image: Abe Jun
Image: Abe Jun



Image: Abe Jun
Image: Abe Jun



Image: Abe Jun
Image: Abe Jun



Image: Abe Jun
Image: Abe Jun



Image: Abe Jun
Image: Abe Jun



Image: Abe Jun
Image: Abe Jun


This reminded me of another virtually Invisible street photographer, Cristobal Hara whose book Vanitas is one of the best books of street imagery ever published but without a web presence his work fails to get the audience and recognition it deserves. Late at night after a few drinks I sat in the back of a yellow cab in NYC with Cristobal and the NYC street photographer Gus Powell trying to persuade Cristobal to let us show his work on in-public. To my delight, he agreed…only to change his mind a few weeks later. Whilst I respect his decisions, it seems a shame that his work is not as available to inspire us as that of so many less qualified street photographers. A google image search reveals little of Cristobal’s wonderfully colorful, surreal and ambiguous imagery.



image: Cristobal Hara
image: Cristobal Hara



image: Cristobal Hara
image: Cristobal Hara



Image: Cristobal Hara
Image: Cristobal Hara



Image: Cristobal Hara
Image: Cristobal Hara



Image: Cristobal Hara
Image: Cristobal Hara



Image: Cristobal Hara
Image: Cristobal Hara



Image: Cristobal Hara
Image: Cristobal Hara


Vanitas is available from Schaden and Citizens through Japan Exposures
Visit my books page for my street photography ‘must own’ books list.


13 thoughts on “The Virtually Invisible Street Photographers”

  1. Thanks Nick for finding them. I really like Jun’s pictures. Will more of Jun Abe’s work be shown on inPublic?
    cheers.
    Pete

  2. Peter, I’m not sure but I think one of the reasons we see so little of his work and that of more Asian street photographers is because of the language barrier. I’d love to invite him to show a gallery on in-public but I might need to do a Japanese course first…or find a japanese speaking go between. He has done a project called ‘Animals’ as well I think, I’d love to see that.

  3. Thank you for these rare pictures. After beeing in Tokyo last year and making street photographs I am very interested in Japanese photography and try to enlarge my view in this direction.
    Martin

  4. Ahhh that last Hara – one of my all time faves. Was sad not to to be able to persuade the 2 ‘S’s to include it in the book…

  5. Slowly and timidly raising my hand….
    I’m confused. Cristobal doesn’t want to be featured on one website but his images are posted on another anyway? There has to be a reason he declined in-public. It may be a personal decision?

  6. @Eric I think he is not keen on the way pictures look on a screen, I have been careful only to post here a correlation of images I could find via google image search, I haven’t posted anything new or unseen of Cristobals. Its always a fine line with posting other peoples work for discussion, without the images above there would be no discussion and I guess that was the whole point of my post.

    As an aside..

    I think if you have a book and you scan and post a few images as part of an article then you are really just quoting from something already in the public domain, this is quite different to scanning and posting a whole publication as Blake Andrews did with the ‘New Topographics’….and got his wrist slapped by Eastman House. Although I think Eastman House were wrong there too because they don’t make that document available to the public online themselves.

  7. Cristobal Hara is not a virtually invisible photographer. He is a well reputed photographer in Spain and I have seen most of his photographs published by major Spanish newspapers..

  8. @Diego Cristobal Hara is, as you say, well known in Spain and published in Spain…which I think supports my argument that his lack of web presence has restricted the dissemination of his work beyond his home country. With a web site, his work would reach a global audience beyond the small territory of Spain.

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