Monday, October 19, 2015

Tsuneko Sasamoto (September 1, 1914 - Present)


Tsuneko Sasamoto is a renowned Japanese photographer who is considered to be her country’s first female photojournalist, documenting pre- and post-war Japan since becoming a professional shooter at the age of 25.

Sasamoto also has the distinction of being one of the oldest photographers on Earth: in 2014 she turned 101 years old, and she’s still making photos.

Sasamoto is currently working for Japanese news site NHK Online and is putting together a new collection of photos after a 70-year career as a photojournalist.

After breaking her left hand and both legs in 2014, Sasamoto lost mobility but not her passion to shoot. She reportedly is doing rehab to gain strength while photographing flowers for a project titled “Hana Akari,” or “Flower Glow.” Which is a homage to the friends of the photographer who have passed away.

Sasamoto has photographed a myriad of historical moments and a plethora of personalities, both great and little known. Her subjects have included General Douglas MacArthur and his wife Jean in 1947 during the U.S. Occupation; the Imperial Family; Hitler Youth visiting Japan; and famed Japanese novelists, poets and artists. Among politicians, her 1955 portrait of Socialist Party head Inejiro Asanuma was the last of him alive. He was assassinated the next day.

Much of her work has focused on women and unsung heroines of the Meiji (1868-1912) and early Showa (1926-89) eras. Her exhibition 100 Women at the JCII Photo Salon in Tokyo celebrates their strength and accomplishments in the face of unrelenting gender discrimination.

Sasamoto has published 6 books so far.

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