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PHOTOGRAPHY

“Provoke: Photography in Japan 1960–1975”

Daidō Moriyama, Midnight Accident, Tokyo, 1969, gelatin silver print, 13 × 18 5/8". From the series “Accident,” 1969.

THE JAGGED, high-contrast, and blurry imagery often associated with postwar Japanese photography can be traced to the legendary photo magazine that is the subject of the compact and exhilarating exhibition “Provoke: Between Protest and Performance—Photography in Japan 1960–1975,” which I saw at the Paris alternative space Le Bal. Created by a small group of brilliant photographers and intellectuals—critic-photographers Takuma Nakahira and Kōji Taki, poet Takahiko Okada, and photographers Yutaka Takanashi and Daidō Moriyama—Provoke comprised only three issues, published between November 1968 and August 1969. But it has had a profound influence—not only for the distinctive photographic style it embraced but also because of the way it captured the flayed emotions of its historical moment, a time of countercultural alienation and insurrection. As photographer

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