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Title

Untitled

1984
printed 1986


Artist

Tomio Seike

Japan

1943 -


About

Since the 1970s, Japanese photographer Tomio Seike has produced small format, hand printed images. Working slowly and methodically, he spends a number of years on a single series, producing only 4-5 images a year. Seike uses natural or pre-existing light and refuses to use a tripod. His photographs are not staged or calculated but chanced upon. He documents transient and fleeting moments that are at risk of passing by unnoticed.

‘Untitled’ was taken in Paris yet there is nothing in the image that suggests this. Seike’s subject, a woman positioned slightly off-centre, stands on a street at night. Shown in profile, she is caught mid gesture. Her head is tipped back as her hands cover her mouth. She could be laughing or in shock. The photograph has a very shallow depth of field and is out of focus. The outline of the woman bleeds into the background and the streetlights behind her become glowing orbs that float in a dark and indeterminate landscape. Together with their reflections on the wet ground, they turn the otherwise featureless street into an ambiguous and abstract space.

The blurred background complicates the photograph’s perspective. While the streetlights delineate a vanishing point, the soft focus obscures a clear reading of the image’s setting and compositional structure. The woman, the only legible form in the image, appears as if superimposed on top of a flat, abstract surface.


Details


Dates

1984
printed 1986


Media category

Photograph


Materials used

gelatin silver photograph


Edition

2/22


Dimensions

20.1 x 30.0 cm image; 30.1 x 40.0 cm sheet


Signature & date

Signed l.r. verso, pencil "Tomio Seike". Not dated.


Credit

Gift of Robert Dein 2013


Location

Not on display


Accession number

251.2013


Artist information

Tomio Seike

Works in the collection

1