(born Hokkaido, 1934–2012)

Fukase was born into a family of photographers in Hokkaido’s Nakagawa District and graduated from Nihon University in 1956 with a degree in photography. By the 1960s, he had earned a reputation as a freelance photographer and his work was regularly featured in exhibitions and journals. Today, Fukase is renowned for his darkly obsessive and deeply personal photographs.

With his first wife, Wanibe Yoko, as his main subject, he published his first photobook, Yugi (Homo Ludence), in 1971. His work was then included in the landmark 1974 exhibition New Japanese Photography, presented at New York’s Museum of Modern Art by John Szarkowski and Shoji Yamagishi. Fukase also cofounded a photography school, the Workshop, with Tomatsu Shomei, Hosoe Eikoh, and Moriyama Daido, among others.

During a period of deep depression after his marriage ended in 1976, Fukase began photographing ravens. Published under the title Karasu (Ravens) in 1986, these images are considered one of the most important series in modern photography. In 1992, he fell down the stairs of a bar and into a coma until his death in 2012.

Images © Masahisa Fukase Archives, courtesy of Michael Hoppen Gallery in London

Works in Japan Modern: