FUKUHARA Shinzo 福原 信三 (1883-1948) Tokyo. Major figure in pictorialist landscape photography. Third son of drugstore owner FUKUHARA Arinobu who founded a drugstore named Shiseido (forerunner of Shiseido Cosmetics Co.) Elder brother of FUKUHARA Roso.
Interested in Japanese-style and Western paintings as a child and hoped to become a painter. Received his first camera from his father at age 13 in 1896. Consequently found much interest in photography since junior high and joined camera clubs. Started studying pharmacology in 1903 at the school that became Chiba University. Studied photography during junior high school. Studied pharmacology at Columbia University in New York in 1908. After graduating in 1910, worked at a drugstore in New York. In 1911, worked at a cosmetic factory in a New York City suburb and studied the formulation and manufacturing of cosmetics.
Traveled to Europe in 1912-1913 visiting England, Germany, Italy, etc. Stayed in Paris where he photographed the Seine River. Upon returning to Japan in late 1913, took over his father's drugstore. Later in 1916, he established the company's cosmetics department in Ginza, Tokyo for which the company is now famous.
He also started a company called Shashin Geijutsu-sha with a few other photographers including his younger brother FUKUHARA Roso to publish a photo magazine called Shashin Geijutsu in 1921. The company published photo books as well, and its emphasis on the gradations of light had a great influence on the photographers of the day as a new technique for photographic expression.
The magazine folded due to the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 which also destroyed the Shiseido store, Shinzo's residence, his camera equipment, and original photos. Shinzo formed the Nihon Shashin-kai amateur photographers association in 1924 and served as its first president. The organization was a major pre-war influence on Japanese photography and still exists today despite a temporary dissolution during the war years.
In Feb. 1936, he traveled to Hawaii with fellow photographer NOJIMA Yasuzo on the Chichibu Maru passenger ship. During the 18-day stay, he photographed Oahu featuring the intense tropical sunlight. The photos were later published as his final photo book. He did all this while at the helm of Shiseido.
His most noted works were taken in the 1920s. The sepia photographs have a dreamy, soft, misty, and pictorialist look. Being stricken with an eye disease during his final years, Shinzo lost his eyesight about a year before his death at age 65. (2001.09.16)
Biography in Japanese