Shigeo Gochō’s final series, Familiar Street Scenes, marks a significant departure from the style of portraits for which he had become known. He used color film for the first time and sought out fleeting formal patterns in the bustle and flow of the streets of downtown Tokyo while moving closer to his subjects, which he then presented in larger, bold prints. The diminished distance between the photographer and his subjects leads to a more confrontational relationship. Though some return his gaze, their expressions convey an admonishment rather than a shared acceptance. At the time it was published, Familiar Street Scenes did not receive wide recognition from an audience that had been primed by Self and Others (2014.689-93). However, perhaps the human interactions espoused in the two bodies of work are not so different: whether or not gazes are exchanged, it is never possible to completely understand the true thoughts behind those gazes.

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Gocho Shigeo, Japanese, 1946–1983
from the series Familiar Street Scenes
1978–1980, printed 2014
Chromogenic print
Image: 14 1/4 × 21 1/4 in. (36.2 × 54 cm) Sheet: 17 7/8 × 21 3/4 in. (45.4 × 55.2 cm) Frame (outer): 22 7/8 × 28 7/8 × 1 3/4 in. (58.1 × 73.3 × 4.4 cm)
Credit Line

Museum purchase funded by Geoffrey and Barbara Koslov

Current Location
Not on view
Accession Number

MEM Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX, 2014.