The Importance of Beato's Japanese Photography

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Beato's Japanese Photographic Work

Beato’s Japanese photographic work is an art that people appreciate all over the world, due to his commercial success. His work involved taking landscape photos, architecture and making people portraits. He traveled in different places, thereby capturing diverse scenes of the Japanese people. Through Beato’s photography, one understands the importance of photography and also, how the Western people interacted with others all over the world. The Western photographers borrowed ideas on how to practice photography in persuasive and attractive scenes in order to attract the booming tourism industry in the world. Felice Beato worked with other photographers, with whom they shared photographic artwork.

Beato's Involvement in Photography

Initially, Beato was involved in taking photos of the war scenes, where he took pictures of the heroes who went to war and sent them to their family members. In addition, he would capture the fierce scenes of the British undertakings in Japan. As Beato advanced his photographic work and adopted the tourist’s market, he started printing pictures and attaching a description of the place and the event that was taking place in Japan when he shot the photo. Tourists could visit Beato’s photography studio to book an appointment with him to accompany them to their explorative vacations. The tourism industry advanced as a result of the industrialization which occurred after the war, as well as the increase of the Japanese population. The Westerners appreciated the Japanese culture, tradition, and history through Beato’s photos which were stored in photographic albums.

Parallelism between Beato's Work and Modern Photography

The modern photographers exhibit parallelism with Beato’s photographic work in a number of areas. These areas include photo printing, choosing excellent places and scenes that build fond memories for the participants in the future. In comparison, Beato captured exceptional and specific places as well as portraits of people who wanted to document events that they would remember in the future (Hockley). For instance, he recorded photos of people who died in the war in order to keep a memory of the Japanese heroes. Additionally, he took photos of the Ford at Sakawa-Nagawa to commemorate the mode of transport that people used in his era. In the same way, modern photographers spend over 90% of their photographic career time capturing moments and scenarios that their clients wish to remember in the future.

Modern Photography and Personal Interests

Even though modern photography does not capture historic events of the state, the personal interests in photography, which individuals express today, intermarry with Beato's. People take snapshots preferably during important events such as wedding events, birthday parties, and vacation events. Notably, the modern photographers print the photos on durable printing papers to ensure that the photos can be passed on to generations. In this case, Beato’s and modernist’s photographic work exhibit similarities with regards to people’s choice of the events where they involve a photographer to record, print and provide means of photo storage to them.

Factors Contributing to Beato's Success

The reason why Beato excelled in his photography work is that he was working in an environment that is rich in attractive and exotic culture. People are attracted to unique pictures and scenes, and, therefore, his work attracted tourists because it was exceptional. For instance, there were the blind money lenders who were given high priorities by the government to do business, the executioners, the sleeping beauties and the dancing girls. Beato's photos were appealing since he captured crucial Japanese culture and practices which are not common in other states.

Physical Orientation of Japan

The physical orientation of Japan also played a role in propelling Beato’s career in photography. There was a guard who was responsible for noting everyone who went in the sacred mountains, where demons resided according to the belief of the Japanese people. In relation to the attractive places that were appealing to more tourists, Beato had the privilege to serve more tourists who visited his studio in the quest for his photographic services. Therefore, the exotic culture of the Japanese was an avenue for Beato to excel commercially.

Diversity of Beato's Photographic Activities

Beato’s photographic activities were diverse because he captures a wide range of Japanese events, places, and people. Since Beato was one of the first photographers who settled in Japan in 1863 and established a photography studio, he played a great role in recording the history of this state. He committed to spend his entire life in Japan and execute his photographic skills to document important events that occurred during the Crimean war and later on, venture in tourism photography (Wilson). One can understand the Japanese culture that existed in the 18th century by looking at the Beato's photos even though the culture has changed over time. In addition, his unique method of documenting the photos and providing a brief description of them provide useful historical information about the Japanese culture.

Beato's Influence on the Photographic Industry

Beato’s photography influenced the advancement of the photographic industry because he trained people who were interested in photography, thereby fostering growth in the industry (Wilson). Additionally, he worked with other photographers such as Charles Wirgman, whose skills were integrated together to create colored photos. Individuals who had acquired skills on how to color woodblocks also enhanced their skills by working at Beato’s studio while painting the black and white photos.

Development of Beato's Photography

There is a clear indication that Beato’s photography advanced as time passed on. Initially Beato printed picture in black and white but later printing colored ones. Photographers in the modern world print colored photos, thus emulating Beato’s work (Hockley). This is a pointer that Beato played a great role in the development of quality and modern photos. Nonetheless, modern photographs are not printed from negatives due to the technologic advancement, thus, digital machines are used to print pictures in the absence of the negatives.

Beato's Impact on Perceptions of Japanese Culture

In summary, Beato’s work has influenced people’s perception of the Japanese culture. People learn about the past events that occurred in ancient times when they view Beato’s images and read the descriptions them. In addition, modern photographers borrow Beato’s ideas when capturing and printing snapshots of crucial events. Moreover, individuals borrow the concept of using albums to store their photographs in the 21st century.

Similarities with Modern Photography

Tourists hire private and professional photo experts in the modern world in order to capture crucial moments while on vacation. The need to hire photographers is to document events, which are crucial in people’s lives such as weddings, birthday parties, anniversaries and graduation ceremonies. This is a similarity between Beato's and modern photography because of the value accorded to life events in the two scenarios.

Factors Contributing to Beato's Success

Lastly, Beato excelled during his work because his environment created room for him to engage in photography. Notably, tourism was a major activity in Japan because of their unique culture and the physical orientation of the land. As a result, he attended to an increased number of tourists who valued his photographic work. Moreover, Beato’s work records a remarkable Japanese history; he settled in Yokohama in 1863, a time when people valued their tradition since globalization had not occurred. In this sense, Beato’s photography is a record of important ancient Japanese culture which has been eroded through modernization.

Works cited

Hockley, Allen. "MIT Visualizing Cultures."MIT OpenCourseWare | Free Online Course Materials, Accessed 18 Oct. 2018.

Wilson, Alona. MIT Visualizing Cultures. Accessed 18 Oct. 2018.

November 24, 2023


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