“THE UTOPIAN STEP OF TURNING HUMANKIND INTO ONE BIG MELTING POT”: FIRST EDITION OF OHARA’S LANDMARK PHOTOBOOK, ONE
OHARA, Ken. One. Tokyo: Tsukiji Shokan, 1970. Thick square quarto, original stiff photographic wrappers, photographic endpapers. $2200.
First edition of Ohara’s first book, his seminal conceptualist work of portraiture, with 500 black-and-white close-ups of individual faces photographed on the streets of New York.
While working in New York with Richard Avedon and Hiro, Japanese photographer Ken Ohara reconfigured the art of portraiture when he made an “obsessive recording of tightly framed single faces snapped on the streets of New York… and printed them with the same tonal characteristics, thus eliminating differences in skin colour. Through this, and through tight framing that locates the eyes, nose and mouth in the same position on each full-page bleed, he dispenses with the main racial differences. Other specific physiognomic characteristics that we think of as defining racial groups, such as slanting eyes, broad noses, or thin lips, turn out in Ohara’s compendium not to be nearly as important as the colour of the skin. Thus Ohara has taken the utopian step of using the camera to turn humankind into one big melting pot, his serial photographs making almost ritual atonement for the sin of racism” (Parr & Badger I:291). In 1974 Ohara won a Guggenheim Fellowship and his work was featured in the “New Japanese Photography” exhibit at MoMA. Without extremely scarce dust jacket. Open Book, 266.
Images clean and bright. Some minor expert repairs and light toning to spine of original wrappers. Near-fine condition.