Atelier EXB, 2021. First edition. Hardcover, 192 pp., 123 b/w illustrations, 185 x 26 mm. Photographs by Masahisa Fukase. Text by Masahisa Fukase (essay of 1978), Tomo Kosuga (English).
Selected as one of the Best Books of 2021 by Ed Templeton, Deanna Templeton, Terri Weifenbach
This publication is dedicated to Masahisa Fukase’s emblematic series on his two cats: Sasuke and Momoe, combining unpublished and iconic images. In 1977, Fukase turned his lenses on his new companion Sasuke. Growing up with felines, he decides with the arrival of this new cat in his life that it would become a photographic subject in his own right, fascinated by this creature full of life named after a legendary ninja. Sasuke disappears after ten days and the photographer sticks hundreds of small posters (as featured on the cover of the book) in his neighborhood. A person brings back his cat, yet it is not Sasuke but never mind he welcomes this new cat with as much affection. One year later, he takes a second cat named Momoe, entering the frame as well and he will never get tired of photographing their games. They become for the Japanese photographer a boundless experimental field leading to an extraordinary body of work in its technical and visual inventiveness.
As often in his work, this series shows a form of projection of the photographer into his subject. The cat, a faithful companion who never leaves him, takes the place of his wife, eternal heartache, later represented by the iconic fleeing crows.
His cats have been the subject of several books in his lifetime and Tomo Kosuga has dug into the photographer’s archives to conceive this ultimate book as the achievement of a series of publications devoted to his cats.