* This title is on pre-sale. Pre-orders will ship spring 2024.
Softcover with French flaps
8.25 in. x 10.75 in. | 20.955 cm. x 27.305 cm.
Disasters, riots, and massacres. Early Chicago through the lens of Jun Fujita’s camera, the man who shot Al Capone.
Jun Fujita was a Japanese immigrant who became a pioneering photojournalist and poet in Chicago during the first half of the 1900s. Fujita was not only a witness to momentous events in Chicago’s history; his photographs of these news events shaped the way they were recorded. He used photography to humanize inhumanity and to make legendary figures more life-sized. Despite his ethnic background and limited English, Fujita became a celebrated, somewhat swashbuckling member of the staunchly segregated city’s society, counting everyone from Carl Sandburg to Al Capone as friends. Yet he had to fight to avoid being sent to an internment camp during World War II, and he and his white wife refused to have children, fearing the prejudice biracial children faced. His story opens a window into many of the political, social, and cultural struggles of the country at that time. Until now, the story has not been told.
Jun Fujita: Behind the Camera is the definitive book about the remarkable and always fascinating Jun Fujita. It features his most famous photojournalism and his personal photography, including:
Fujita’s images are held by the Chicago History Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago. He was also an acclaimed poet with ties to Harriet Monroe of Chicago’s Poetry magazine. In the 1920s, he authored the highly regarded Tanka: Poems in Exile, considered to be the first American collection of Japanese tanka poetry.
Graham Lee is the great-nephew of Jun Fujita. As the self-appointed family archivist, he has preserved several family items specific to Fujita, including a collection of negatives that may never have been printed or exhibited, family photos and artifacts, and a collection of poetry that has never been published. This book began with two green metal drawers full of Fujita’s personal negatives. As Lee digitized each negative, images began to emerge: delicate wildflowers, a rugged riveter hugging a Chicago skyscraper. Each one told a story. Lee spent the last 15 years researching Fujita’s life, retracing his great uncle’s footsteps, and creating a story that combines a rich family history with important historical and personal photographs.