Nineteenth Century Photographs from The Burns Archive
RESOBOX gallery is proud to present the seventh annual exhibition from The Burns Collection & Archive. The floating world encapsulates the hedonistic urban lifestyle, especially the pleasure seeking aspects, that emerged during Edo period Japan. Images of floating world culture depict the pleasures and entertainments of Meiji Japan – the world of geishas and courtesans, kabuki actors, and sumo wrestlers. Tea houses, theaters and brothels are backdrops for the floating world’s universe of extravagance. Ukiyo-e means “pictures of the floating world,” and in the spirit of the colorful woodblock prints created during the Edo period, this exhibit utilizes original nineteenth century hand-painted photographs reproduced on varied media, such as wood and metal, as well as original historic prints.
The Burns Collection & Archive
From the birth of photography through the modern age, with more than one million historic photographs, The Burns Archive provides photographic evidence of forgotten, unseen and disquieting aspects of history. It was established in 1975 by Stanley B. Burns, MD, FACS, a New York City ophthalmologist and photo-historian. For over forty years, thousands of publishers, exhibitors, authors, researchers, artists and filmmakers have utilized this unique source of visual documentation. The Archive is best known for images of the darker side of life – death, disease, crime, racism, revolution and war – however, a large part of the collection depicts aspects of social and cultural life. A favorite and compelling category are nineteenth-century Japanese hand-painted photographs.
Dr. Burns and his daughter Elizabeth have co-authored two books on Japanese photographic history, Setting Sun: Painted Photographs of Meiji Japan (2017) and Geisha: A Photographic History 1872-1912 (2008), which explores the life and culture of Geisha during the Meiji Era. They have produced multiple exhibitions of Japanese photography, including many at the RESOBOX Gallery, Geisha: The Golden Years 1870-1890 (2012), Working Life in Meiji Japan (2013), Japan – An Island Nation: 1870-1890 (2014), Japanese Ritual Industry: Silk, Rice & Tea (2015), Worship in Meiji Era Japan (2016) and Fujisan: Eternal Symbol of Japan (2017).