My Husband • Tokuko Ushioda
Shortlisted for the Paris Photo–Aperture PhotoBook Awards 2022
9.5 x 7.5 inches, Book 1: 122P, Hard Cover / Book 2: 76P, Soft Cover
Essays by Yuri Mitsuda, Yurie Nagashima Design by Yuri Suyama, Languages: Japanese, English, torch press.
The joyful days with her husband, Shinzo Shimao, and daughter, Maho in a one-room unit of a Western-style house and her solitude she faced alone in the quiet night; Dormant for 40 years, the story of these photographs is finally uncovered. A set of two books with Book 1 and Book 2 each showcasing the 6×6 and 35mm photographs respectively.
Tokuko Ushioda who enrolled in the Kuwasawa Design School in 1960, studied under Yasuhiro Ishimoto and Kiyoji Otsuji before graduating in 1963. She started her career as a photographer around 1975, befriending those such as Shigeo Gocho (Kuwasa Design School 1968 Graduate) and Fusako Kodama who became important inspirations to each other. Within the few years leading up to her meeting with Shinzo Shimao who later becomes her husband, they had unknowingly crossed paths within the community studying under Otsuji. In 1978, Ushioda and Shimao had a daughter and got married.
In early 1979, soon after their child Maho was born, the three moved into a historic Western-style house where Yukio Ozaki, known as the “God of constitutional politics”, had relocated his former house. It was one simple box-like room on the second floor with a shared toilet and no bathroom; not even a fridge at first. As soon as she became a newlywed and a mother of a child, Ushioda’s busy yet fulfilling days started. Her husband, Shimao, was quite singular both as an artist and as a family member and had continued photography within the limited living space he shared with Ushioda. Perhaps because it was a record of life with such a partner, she was able to maintain a meticulous balance, neither nostalgic nor cynical, depicting the human drama hidden behind objects. Her work thus displays an even more refined calmness. Her first masterwork, “ICE BOX” was created during this fertile time, and the presence of ZEIT-FOTO SALON, the first commercial photography gallery in Japan, and photographers such as late Osamu Hiraki, and Ryuichi Kaneko is reflected in the fragments of the world Ushioda had captured. This book includes the photographs taken within 5 years from 1978, the year Maho was born. Book 1 includes the 6×6 square format, synonymous with Ushioda, and is a set with Book 2 with the 35mm snapshots, establishing a precious photobook that will be remembered as the starting point to her photography.