Ravens and Red Lipstick Japanese Photography since 1945

Lena Fritsch

This book is an accessible and visually rich study of Japanese photography since 1945 by an experienced curator specializing in Japanese art and culture. 


This rich volume provides one of the first overviews of Japanese photography to be published in English. Drawing on extensive research, Lena Fritsch traces the development of Japanese photography chronologically, from the severity of post-war Realism to the diverse ingenuity of photography in contemporary Japan. Interspersed are fascinating original interviews with some of the most influential photographers of each era, including Daido Moriyama.

Ravens and Red Lipstick offers a visually bold survey of Japanese photography’s recent history. Fritsch masterfully frames each movement with their business, education, and art-institutional backdrops—she shows the consumerism and intense political debates of 1960s and ’70s Japan, for example, to be central to the rough style of the “Provoke” artists. Fritsch’s great achievement is to bring observations from a range of disciplines to bear on her commentary with imagination and clarity. As a result, this comprehensively illustrated volume is both an accessible introduction and an illuminating work of analysis of Japanese photography since 1945. 


A broad survey for Western audiences, the book also dips into less familiar territory. Both neophytes and those familiar with Japanese photography are likely to discover something unexpected… The book not only provides rich, multivalent context for its arresting images, but also hope for more nuanced understandings of traditions not our own… Ravens is refreshing because it allows…subtleties of ideation and reception to bubble up, even in a book that covers over 70 years of photography.

— Los Angeles Times


Lena Fritsch


Lena Fritsch is Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, where she works on exhibitions and displays of international art. Before joining the Ashmolean in 2017, she was Assistant Curator of International Art at Tate Modern. A specialist in 20th and 21st century Japanese art and photography, and an experienced translator of the language, she has contributed to a number of exhibitions featuring Japanese art.