Description

In the late 90s 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 He was struck by the verisimilitude of the prints as historical documents of the life and beauty of the area.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 about modern Japan and Japanese life. “The first view a foreigner usually gets of Fuji is on the bullet train out of Tokyo, when the mountain rises out of the surrounding industrial landscape. This is the unromantic reality, and yet in most photographic representations there is hardly any sign of human activity. I wanted to depict contemporary Japan in the shadow of Fuji as I really found it, and in so doing discover the country,” Steele-Perkins says.

Everything shifts as you move, and different things come into focus at different points of your life, and you try to articulate that

Chris Steele-Perkins
© Chris Steele-Perkins | Magnum Photos

Chris Steele-Perkins was born in 1947 in Rangoon, Burma and at the age of two, moved to England with his father. At the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, he studied psychology and worked for the student newspaper; he graduated with honors in 1970 and started to work as a freelance photographer, moving to London in 1971.

Steele-Perkins has produced some of the most iconic images of British society in the last half century, exploring youth subcultures, poverty and community with artful sensitivity. His more than 45-year career has seen him travel widely, making significant bodies of work in his home country of Myanmar, as well as Japan, Africa and Afghanistan, all of which have received critical acclaim.

Steele-Perkins became a member of Magnum Photos in 1979 and continues to work in Britain and abroad.

© Chris Steele-Perkions | Magnum Photos

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