Sims Reed Rare Books×

The World Through Lenses

Shimomura Shotaro

(Tokyo). (Privately published). 1935
Shimomura Shotaro's beautiful presentation series of 1930s Modernist travel photographs.

Shimomura Shotaro (1883 - 1944), chairman of the Daimaru chain of department stores, builder of a Tudor villa in Kyoto, philanthropist, traveller and remarkable photographer produced these 36 photographs during a world tour in the early 1930s. Spanning India (4 photographs), the USA (11 photographs), Egypt (1), Italy (3), Switzerland (3), Austria (1), Denmark (1), Holland (1), Italy (3), France (2), Britain (8), and one aboard ship (the SS Katori Maru), Shimomura's photographs each capture an iconic aspect and display it with an exceptional style. Although this series, very much a vanity production, was produced by Shimomura as a gift for presentation, with the photographs issued loose in a carved wooden box bearing his initials, each with a tissue guard with title in English and Japanese, the whole is a testament to Shimomura's taste and his remarkable and talented eye. Subtitled 'Souvenir Photo Sketches of Shotaro Shimomura's Tour Round the World, 1934 - 35' this series of extraordinary photographs deserve to be more widely known.

Among the best of the photographs are the following: 'Magasin du Nord of Copenhagen, Denmark', 'Westminster Abbey, London, England', 'A Morning at the Bank of the Seine, Paris, France', 'Pavement at the Taj Mahal at Agra, India', 'R. H. Macy’s from the Top of the Empire State Building, New York, U. S. A.', 'Downtown Skyline of New York, U. S. A.', but these are only a few among many other striking, beautiful or notable images. The photographs, largely unknown, were exhibited later in the 1930s at the Ashiya Shashin Salon, the annual exhibition in Tokyo of the influential Ashiya Camera Club. Shimomura appears also to have published a separate issue of 12 of the photographs in a paper or card folder.

Full details of the photographs and their titles are available on request.

We can trace no other complete example of Shimomura Shotaro's series.

[not in Japon des Avant Gardes 1910 - 1970].
Small 4to. (212 x 284 mm). 36 original silver gelatine prints on various paper stock, each with tissue guard with printed titles in Japanese and in English; sheet size:155 x 206 mm or the reverse. Loose as issued in original carved wooden box, the lid with elaborate decoration and stylised carved initials 'S S', title label to interior.