Late Autumn


Late Autumn
Print   (Part of the set: Mystique of the Japanese Print)

Seseragi Studio


Print is Public Domain; Photography is:   Creative Commons License


When it comes to selecting images for my various print sets, one thing that doesn't play a very large part in my decisions is the 'name value' of the designer. World famous, or unknown, I don't care. If I like the image, I will make the print. And I will frequently go out of my way to include work by lesser-known designers, as a kind of antidote to the over-exposure of the big names. But there is a reason why those big names have their reputation, and that is of course the quality of their work. Sometimes the Beethoven symphony is just what you want to hear. And so it is with the artist known as Sori; he was such a master at designing for woodblock prints that it would be short-sighted in the extreme to avoid his work.

The image of his that we have here is from the sub-genre of ukiyo-e known as surimono, privately published prints (although 'published' is not a good term to use, as they were never sold, and not intended for public distribution.) Sori was in high demand for this type of work it seems, as a great many surimono of his design have survived, along with many by his pupil Hokkei. The two of them seem to have had a 'lock' on the business for a number of years.

To those of us living in the 21st century, a 'telephoto' shot like this - with the distant moon bursting out of the frame at such a vast enlargement - is nothing out of the ordinary; we see it in photographs or films all the time. But this print was designed nearly 200 years ago! How on earth did he come up with such a conception - which cannot be seen with the naked eye! - all those years before cameras were invented? Well, to a genius designer, it was all in a day's work.

I should probably mention one more thing. A few years after designing this print, Sori was creating images in a somewhat different style, so decided that it would be a good idea to start using a different name. Over the following years, he was to change his name again and again, but it was that next one that 'stuck' in the history books. He began to call himself ... Hokusai.


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