Photo rally by Marc Riboud, Japan 1958

Photo rally by Marc Riboud, Japan 1958

40 models and more than 2000 photographers were out and about on the first Saturday in June 1958 in Karuizawa, 140 kilometres north of Tokyo, Japan. The occasion was a photographic rally organised by the Fujifilm Corporation. This formed the backdrop for the present, famous picture by Marc Riboud, which reveals two things – elegantly, yet not without irony: the passion of amateur photographers, embedded in an advertising spectacle, and the French Magnum photographer’s outstanding instinct for composition.

Like an observer on the sidelines, Riboud and his Leica M bring together in one image the dichotomy of the gazing male subject – embodied by a group of men armed with cameras – on the one hand and the gazed upon female object on the other. Especially the lady in the right foreground presents an exemplary sight – not just to the ambitious rally participants.

The model's grace, combined with the exposure of multiple simultaneous photographs, render this vintage print the essence of a visually inclined person who “was always more susceptible to the beauty of the world than to its violence and ugliness”, as Riboud summarized forty years later. “Then and now,” the photographer went on, “it is my greatest joy to discover rhyme and rhythm in my camera’s viewfinder.”

Reference: Marc Riboud, Portfolio, Munich 2001, pl. 59; Linda Gerdiner (ed.), Marc Riboud - 50 Years of Photography, Paris 2004, p. 26.