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Samurai, Gardens, and Crowded Streets: Photographing 1880s Japan In Technicolor

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This photograph, as incredible as it may sound, was taken more than a century ago. The photographer was Adolfo Farsari. The images he captured, of a bygone world, are breathtaking.

Farsari's story is nearly as interesting as the photographs he took. A former enlisted man for the Union in the Civil War, Farsari became the West's chief chronicler of images of Japanese landscapes and daily life near the end of the 19th century.


He produced sepia monochrome prints in his studio that were then hand-colored by local artists. Rudyard Kipling was a fan, as were any number of wealthy European and American tourists. Farsari's technical proficiency is astounding, given the limitations of the period. The results speak for themselves, and for an era long past. [Quazen]