This is the actual print reproduced in Ishimoto's seminal book Chicago, Chicago (1969). His prints used for originattion in publications are normally unsigned. This print, however, is signed as it was gifted by Ishimoto to an editor at Camera Mainichi in 1973 when it was used for the magazine's 20th anniversary issue. One hundred contemporary photographers were asked to select one photograph from their own body of work. Ishimoto chose this image of a girl in front of a church door for it best represents his ideal of creating 'simple records'.
Period prints from Chicago, Chicago are exceptionally rare. Ishimoto printed one complete set of master prints in Chicago. This set, comprising small-format prints mounted on boards, is in his personal collection and will be donated to a museum in Japan. He next printed this series in 1968 for the making of the book. Following its publication, he did not make prints from this series until 1980. Aside from the master print, the present lot is one of only a few period prints made of this image.
Ishimoto was born in San Francisco but raised in Japan from the age of three. Although he returned to California in 1939 to study agriculture, he turned to photography while being interned in Armach, Colorado. Between 1948 and 1952, he studied photography at the Chicago Institute of Design under the guidance of Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. When he settled in Japan following his graduation, he introduced to his contemporaries a formalist aesthetic nurtured by Western influences. His work was also included in Edward Steichen's monumental exhibition The Family of Man, which toured Japan in 1956. A fellowship from Minolta enabled him to return to Chicago from 1958 to 1961 to take photographs. Of this second sojourn, he recalls: 'Those three years in Chicago were truly the best time. Without thinking at all about money or selling work, I just went out into the city and photographed.' (quoted in Ishimoto Yasuhiro, p.65) These works, consisting mainly of street scenes, were later published as a collection in Chicago, Chicago.