tokyo

Shigeo Anzai

212°F

Shigeo Anzai’s photographs of artists are generally small; one might even speak of them as glorified snapshots. This is part of their demythologizing aspect. There’s a sense of the unposed, the contingent—this we expect from the snapshot—but especially of the emotionally contingent, which is rarer, implying a greater “susceptibility” on the photographer’s part. Even when the scene is posed, as in the image of Joseph Beuys, his wife, and teenage daughter facing in different directions (at odds with one another—each like a perpendicular dropped away from the other, and thus emphasizing his or her otherness), the emotional component seems unposed, spontaneously present, and thus devastatingly revelatory. It is as though the subjects did not know what they felt until they knew they were going to be photographed. Similarly, the wonderful smile on Barry Flanagan’s face as he looks up from digging

Sign-in to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for artforum.com? Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the October 1984 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.