In the late 1990s, Chris Steele-Perkins embarked on a three-year project on Mount Fuji, after his Japanese wife gave him a book by 19th-century master printmaker Katsushika Hokusai, “36 Views of Mount Fuji”. He was struck by the verisimilitude of the prints as historical documents of the life and beauty of the area. Steele-Perkins set out to record a 21st-century response through the eyes of a sympathetic gaijin (foreigner). “Fuji”, as seen by Steele-Perkins, emerges as a meditation on modern Japan and Japanese life. “I wanted to depict contemporary Japan in the shadow of Fuji as I really found it, and in so doing discover the country.” says Steele-Perkins. “I stopped at some road works at night and Fuji was visible. I made a 4 minute exposure and the flashing red lights combined with the green fluorescent light of Fujinomiya city reflecting from the clouds was almost hallucinogenic.”
Magnum Editions 8×10″ and Contact Sheet pairings allow you to follow the photographer’s process, frame by frame, giving insight into the decisions taken to create the final iconic image, sold alongside the contact sheet as an 8×10″ print. This pairing contains images from Steele-Perkins visit to Honshu in 1999, including a famously vibrant view of Mount Fuji.