Friday, August 23, 2019


The Golden Rock, a legendary picture made forty-one years ago in Burma by Magnum photographer Hiroji Kubota. 
© Hiroji Kubota / Magnum Agency

By José Manuel Serrano Esparza

In the spring of 1978, after having been in United States for fifteen years covering a number of events (Protesters in front of the Washington Monument in Washington D.C in 1963, George Wallace Presidential Campaign Rally in Michigan in 1968, Nixon Campaign Headquarters in Greenville, Speeches by Martin Luther King in South Carolina in 1968, Black Panther Party Members in Chicago in 1969, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in 1971, Young Men Burning Their Draft Cards in New York in 1967, Vietnam War Peace Marches, African American Residents in Birmingham Alabama and Jackson Mississippi in 1969, The Young Harlem Man Mitchell Hall at his Home and Public School in New York in 1966, Centers of Special Education in New York in 1965, Pueblo Native Indians in New Mexico in 1969, Marginal Neighborhoods of Chicago South Area in 1969, Gas Mask Training by Marines in Southern California in 1969, Hippie Meeting in California in 1971, and others) mostly in highly stressful contexts bristling with fair social vindications and fight in the streets linked to the Civil Rights Movement, photographer Hiroji Kubota needs to rest and tackle new image approaches, so he has gone to Burma.

He is taking with him two 24 x 36 mm format Leica M2 rangefinder cameras, one loaded with Kodachrome 64 color film and the other one with Kodak Tri-X 400 black and white film.

Ernst Leitz Weztlar cutaway of the Leica M2, an utterly manually made rangefinder camera, whose exceedingly small size and low weight for its 24 x 36 mm format stem from highly miniaturized components made with noble metals and assembled by skilled hands with years of training, resulting in a masterpiece of precision in which the amazing mechanical shutter and the rangefinder/viewfinder system stand out. During the two hours that Hiroji Kubota needed to climb the mountain until reaching the Golden Rock, he took his two Leica M2 cameras and lenses very comfortably, leveraging their very small dimensions and low weight. As a matter of fact, Leica M cameras were still announced during early sixties as miniature ones in magazines like Popular Photography and Shutterbug. 
© Leica Camera AG

He has already fallen in love with Burmese people, their habits and daily interactions, their wonderful landscapes, their steady smiles and many more things, striving upon capturing them with his cameras, shooting handheld using available light and giving free rein to his boundless sensitivity, curiosity and search for beauty, hugely enhanced when he is alone and can utterly focus on the observation of human beings, their social structures and their world.

Now, Hiroji Kubota is very near the famous holy Golden Rock at Shwe Pyi Daw, on top of Mount Kyaiktiyo (Burma) for the third time, after two previous visits in which he couldn´t photograph it because it was completely covered with bamboo matting, since its gold foil was being restored.

When Hiroji Kubota got this well-known picture in 1978, he had already visited Burma more than fifty times, subsequently making other twenty-five trips there hitherto. Such is his love and interest for this alluring country. 
© jmse

The impressive beauty and majesty of the huge Golden Rock pierce the photographer´s heart and soul.

This is an absolutely riveting sight and Hiroji Kubota decides to use his Leica M2 camera loaded with Kodachrome 64 film, because he does feel that color is more powerful and the best way to depict the wonder he is beholding.

The great Japanese photographer begins to get pictures, and spends some hours, looking for the best qualities and trajectories of lights.

There are photographed instants in which only a Buddhist monk is sitting beside the Golden Rock, other times there are two of them and sometimes a group of monks is praying next to it.

He is already an internationally recognized photographer. He has assisted Elliott Erwitt in Tokyo in 1961, Cornell Capa during his stage as Life magazine photographer before founding the ICP New York to preserve his brother´s legacy, Burt Glinn between 1962 and 1963, he has won the Publishing Cultural Award from Kodansha in 1970 for his three landmark picture essays " Black People ", " Calcutta " and " Ryukyu " islands, he has been a Magnum Agency associate photographer since 1971, and he has covered the fall of Saigon during the Vietnam War.

Seventeen years ago René Burri gave him in Tokyo a Leica M3 in C cosmetic condition but working flawlessly and Elliott Erwitt donated him a copy of the original edition of Henri Cartier-Bresson´s The Decisive Moment book.

But now Hiroji Kubota is only a few seconds to relish the most important moment in his life along with the day of 1961 in which Elliott Erwitt gave him the previously mentioned

original edition of the High Priest of the Rangefinder´s landmark book, which invigorated him so much that he couldn´t sleep for some days.

He has been able to arrive at this location after been three hours inside a packed train from Rangoon and two more hours climbing the Kyayktiyo Mount, in whose summit is the Golden Rock.

But in spite of it, he has got stamina and energy to spare. Such is the emotional intensity and thrill of the moment.

He is about to get the best of his pictures of the Golden Rock.

Six Buddhist monks are now crouched beside it, praying.

The quality and direction of light illuminating the Golden Rock are now splendid, resulting in a kind of metaphysical communion between nature and the human beings paying homage to it.

In addition, Hiroji Kubota has chosen a horizontal frame, whose top area is just underneath the small pagoda on top of the rock, which doesn´t appear in the image.

Besides, the shadows of the right and lower area of the rock in symbiosis with vast majority of its surface clearly showing the glittering golden appearance generated by the millions of gold foils put on it throughout centuries, create a unique picture, wisely enhanced by the presence of the Buddhist monks praying next to it with their eyes closed, their hands raised and wearing orange and dark purple apparels.

And from an image aesthetics viewpoint, the icing of the cake are the abundant rivers of gold flooding downwards from the incredible rock and visible under its base.

His grandmother died a few weeks ago and is very present in his mind.

Hiroji Kubota presses the release button of the horizontally travelling cloth shutter of his Leica M rangefinder camera and gets the picture.

He has just created one of the most iconic and beautiful images ever made.

© Hiroji Kubota / Magnum Agency


Hiroji Kubota had got the fundamental insight of choosing the 24 x 36 mm format Leica rangefinder camera loaded with Kodachrome 64 film to get the picture.

And it absolutely paid off, because of some key factors:

a) The extraordinary Kodachrome 64 film was by far in 1978 the reference-class 24 x 36 mm format colour emulsion in the world to get the best possible resolving power, relatively high contrast, almost non existent grain, color fidelity and acutance, so in spite of the very small format, enlargements up to 50 x 70 cm and even more, with superb levels of sharpness and capture of lavish detail, can be obtained.

b) This is a very important picture, not only from a photographic viewpoint, but also from a human perspective broadly speaking, so the preservation of the original Kodachrome 64 slide of this image was and goes on being top priority.

Box of Kodachrome 64 film from late seventies. Considered to be the best color emulsion of all time along with Kodachrome 25, it became from 1974 onward the choice of many professional photographers yearning to get maximum feasible image quality. In addition, it sported an outstanding adequacy for the photomechanics of the best illustrated magazines of the time, so it could even be printed in double page spread without grain and preserving its exceptional virtues, to such an extent that it was often used to attain comparable results to medium format cameras up to 30 x 40 cm size.

And the archival stability of Kodachrome color films is second to none in terms of duration in time keeping the unique image traits of this mythical chemical emulsion without any degradation, in such a way that it can endure a hundred years or even more, as proved by the approximately 600 pictures made with Kodachrome slides between 1939 and 1934 by the FSA of the United States photographers Arthur Rothstein, Russell Lee, Alfred T. Palmer, Jack Delano, John Vachon, Louise Rosskam, Marion Post Wolcott and others, made with 24 x 36 mm format Leica and Contax cameras. Those Kodachorme ISO 10 images are still impeccable.

c) The resistance of Kodachrome film to areas of the globe with exceedingly high levels of humidity, particularly in Asiatic countries, was unrivaled, in the same way as its amazing ability to survive very long periods of time between exposure and development, something very valuable during long trips.

d) The legendary deep blacks of the Kodachrome 64 were instrumental to foster the impact of this image, since the low key areas on the right of the rock, just under its lower area, next to the Buddhist monks, next to the small rivers of gold, and in the mountainous ridge visible on lower far left zone of the image, are in stark contrast to the shiny golden appearance of the rock in most of its surface and the small rivers of gold featuring branches of tree shapes slowly flooding downwards and visible both below the rock and on the lower right corner of the image, near the Buddhist monks.

Optical scheme of the 0.72x range-viewfinder of the Leica M2. A masterpiece of optomechanical precision made up by more than 150 individual parts. On top of the image is the rangefinder with all of its metallic components, while in the lower area can be seen the optical elements designed by Willi Keiner in early fifties, with the fundamental goal of generating a specific bright-line frame for 35 mm wideangle lenses. The range-viewfinders of all Leica M analogue cameras made after the Leica M2 and the modern digital Leica M10 and M10-P 24 x 36 mm format cameras are based on this configuration. 
                      © Leica Camera AG                    
f) The use of a rangefinder Leica M camera to get this picture was a key factor to get very good shooting stability, since the photograph was made few minutes before sunset, with not very much available light and the last sun beams being reflected by the golden rock, in addition to providing it with spectacular volume and texture.

Furthermore, the Kodachrome 64 color film features a very low sensitivity.

Therefore, shutter speed had to be slow, probably between 1/8 s and 1/45 s at around f /4 to get good depth of field in both the Golden Rock and the Buddhist monks praying beside it.

To make this photograph shooting handheld with a reflex camera featuring a swiveling mirror would have been much more difficult and perhaps impossible without obtaining a blurred image.

Ernst Leitz Wetzlar letters in the lower area of the cover of the Leica Gesamt-Katalog from 1934, year in which Dr. Ludwig Leitz devised a way of controlling the shutter speeds of Leica rangefinder cameras by means of a single non-rotating dial with uniform calibration for the exposure times, a mechanical tour de force concept whose fundamental aim was to preserve the very small size of camera, letting the two shutter curtains travel independently, through a dynamic principle incepted by Professor Riede, in symbiosis with special drive springs that enabled to get uniform exposures. That state-of-the-art for the time shutter was the shutter embryo of the Leica M cameras, twenty years before the introduction of the Leica M3, and would subsequently be developed by Willi Stein, Friedrich Gath and Hugo Wehrenfennig from early fifties, becoming the stunning mechanically controlled focal plane Leica M shutter present in every model of this lineage of rangefinder 24 x 36 mm format cameras and working like a charm. Their efforts were not in vain and paid off when Hiroji Kubota pressed the shutter release button of his camera and got the world famous Golden Rock picture in Burma in 1978. 
© jmse

g) The use of a Leica M lens prime to get this picture was also very important, because Kodachrome 64 was extraordinary in resolving power and acutance, but needed superb lenses delivering 90 lines/mm or more to draw its full potential of image quality.

Non aspherical Leitz lenses at the time yielded excellent levels of resolving power, like the Summicron-M 50 mm f/2 DR with its around 108 lines/mm, while contrast was good, though not stratospheric like modern aspherical Leica M lenses.

But the symbiosis between non aspherical Leica M lenses and Kodachrome 64 film was virtually unbeatable, because the level of realism achieved by that legendary colour film was the benchmark, with not such a high contrast as Fuji Velvia ISO 32, but delivering a stratospheric visual feeling of sharpness that Kodachrome 64 shared with the flagship Kodachrome 25.

Therefore, this famous picture made by Hiroji Kubota in 1978 was very significant for the widespread use by professional photographers of the Kodachrome 64 color film that had been launched into market only four years before.


The Golden Rock at Shwe Pyi Daw (Burma) goes far beyond the relevance of a world famous photograph.

To begin with, it was the picture that made Hiroji Kubota become a colour photographer, in the same way as had happened to René Burri fifteeen years before, when the few color photographs made by him with Kodak Ektachrome E-2 film in Japan in 1961 during his milestone " Zen " reportage for the gorgeous Du magazine in its number of December of 1961 (mostly covered with black and white Kodak Tri-X 400 film) at the Daitokuji Temple, the Zen Buddhist Temple in Honshu (Kyoto) and the Students Center for Training Kendo at Waseda University in Tokyo convinced him to progressively shoot in color.

On the left of the image : Page 54 of Du magazine number of December 1961  with the color photograph of two bamboo canes at the Daitokuji Temple Garden of Tokyo, made by René Burri and published in 32.5 x 24.5 cm size. 
© jmse  
Those few colour pictures made by the great Swiss photographer with two Leica M3 cameras in Japan (one featuring the serial number 984743 and another one much more used that he gave to Hiroji Kubota in Tokyo in 1961, thanking his help as assistant and translator for him, Elliott Erwitt, Burt Glinn and Brian Brake) made him to increasingly use colour (along with black and white) until 1975 and mostly color from 1976 onward.

The Golden Rock at Shwe Pyi Daw (Burma) was for Hiroji Kubota what had been for René Burri the color picture he made in 1961 at the Daitokuji Temple Garden of two bamboo canes, shooting at the widest f/2 aperture and putting the focus on the right one tied with strings to a small cane working as a supporting item.

During his long stays in Japan Burri got to know first hand the deep symbology of bamboo in the Country of the Rising Sun as a nature being offering practical lessons for life regarding firmly rooted flexibility, strength of what looks to be weak, steady readiness for action through training and practice, ability to spring back after adversity, aperture to the knowledge and wisdom of both nature and people whose ideas are different to one´s preconceived notions, continuous Kaizen grow by means of sustained effort, usefulness through simplicity, etc.

© jmse

And all of those elements have been very present throughout the whole career of Hiroji Kubota as a photographer.

René Burri didn´t give one of his beloved Leica M3 cameras to Hiroji Kubota only as a token of gratitude.

He had realized from scratch that the 22 year old Japanese student of Political Science at Waseda University in Tokyo had got a huge potential and talent as a photographer, great sensitivity, an uncommon observation ability, an unflinching desire to learn, tons of inner energy, love for human beings, etc, something that had also been felt shortly before by Hiroshi Hamaya, impressed on seeing the pictures of outer Japan that Hiroji Kubota had made with an old Canon rangefinder camera lent to him by his father during his fieldwork for his college political science thesis.

Therefore, the donation of that camera was first and foremost an act of sincere friendship and admiration by the legendary Swiss photographer towards Hiroji Kubota, something that had already been consolidated when René Burri photographed the Kendo fighters training inside Waseda University, preceded by the sound of the gong starting the Kendo fight with two meter long bamboo swords.

From then on, Hiroji Kubota´s images would not only be great pictures from a photographic viewpoint, but also a core of very deep and comprehensive symbolic visual language in search for beauty and honor in human experience, a Japanese basic ontological conception linked to Munakata Iwao fundamental tenets, according to which it is impossible to envisage either logos or the subject independently of the world and there is an emphasis on the mutual embeddedness of nature and culture, whose apex in the Japanese Magnum photographer sumptuous aesthetic sensibility was The Golden Rock at Shwe Pyi Daw (Burma) image.

© Hiroji Kubota / Magnum Photos

In addition, it is an ode to the grandeur of nature, depicted by the unutterable huge rock covered with gold foil and whose reflected light illuminates the Buddhist monks praying on the right, with an apparent difference in size speaking volumes about the littleness of human beings in comparison to nature elements.

The image is also a kind of visual poem to the tremendous radiant energy springing up from the Golden Rock on being lit by sun beams.

On the other hand, the impressive refulgent traits of gold as a noble metal and the fascination for its symbology and its incorruptible physical and chemical nature as a precious metal are vividly depicted in the image, which in this regard is related to paintings like The Man with The Golden Helmet (1650, made by an artist of Rembrandt circle), The Golden Phase Collection by Gustav Klimt of early XX Century, works of art like ancient Tanjore Paintings of South India, Thai Gold Leaf Painting Art, the Japanese artistic tradition of golden backgrounds that influenced Emil Orlik in 1900 during his visit to the country, etc.

The Golden Rock is likewise the embodiment of Hiroji Kubota´s lifetime unwavering penchant for getting pictures of beautiful things raising people´s spirits, hankering for a brightness preservation approaching as much as possible to the gold one stemming from its relativity.

And gold ductility, epitomized by the golden foil put on the rock by millions of persons throughout centuries, is intimately linked to Hiroji Kubota´s adaptability to different cultures and concepts that he has photographed all over the world for 55 years, in which he has made more than four million pictures, being very broad and open minded, in the same way as his father.

Furthermore, in Hiroji Kubota´s image, the Golden Rock doesn´t appear as a mute and inert entity, but as a living one with personality of its own, an energy center in steady change, a metaphor of transformation captured with his camera, that the photographer has been able to discern with a sensitivity enhanced by loneliness.

© Hakgojae Gallery Seoul


Between March 10 and April 22, 2018 took place at the Hakgojae Gallery in Seoul (Korea) the landmark exhibition " Hiroji Kubota, Magnum Photographer Who Loves Asia " (a retrospective event with identical content to the exhibitions held at the Sungaram Tagore Exhibition Gallery in New York between November 18, 2015 and January 2, 2016 and to the exhibition held at the Sundaram Tagore Gallery in Singapore between June 1-July 2 of 2017), showing a selected assortment of the best 100 pictures made by the Japanese Magnum photographer and whose highlights were the fabulous fifty-two dye-transfer prints made by him between 1978 and 2003

And in the same way as had previously happened in New York and Singapore, the sensational dye-transfer print of The Golden Rock, made from the original Kodachrome 64 slide, became an instant sensation.

The thousands of daily attendees were spellbound looking at this masterpiece simply without peer print, with extraordinary subtlety of tones and hues and a richness, depth and fidelity of colours and textures unmatched by any other kind of photographic print, even clearly beating the superb Ilfochrome prints in every image quality aspect.

However incredible it may seem, news about this top-notch dye-transfer print of the Golden Rock and the other ones (among which also stood out an impressive dye-transfer print of Hiroji Kubota´s triptych of the Guilin Mountains in China made by him in 1981) spread quickly and scores of people traveled by plane from many different countries in the world to watch live in Seoul those wonderful dye-transfer prints, in addition to many earlier platinum prints of black and white images created by Hiroji Kubota between 1961 and 1989, with the images made in Hong-Kong in 1971 and Shanghai in 1979 being the most attractive for the very abundant visitors.

The dye-transfer print of the Golden Rock picture (in the same way as the rest of them) was very difficult to do and very time consuming, because it is an exceedingly complex technique, and to attain it, Hiroji Kubota, very meticulous on the quality of his prints, had the invaluable help of the genius Indian printer Nino Monhde (who also worked for Irving Penn, Harry Callahan and William Eggleston), probably the greatest expert on earth making dye-transfer prints along with the wizard Ctein.

Whatever it may be, the enthusiasts of photography and art who visited both exhibitions could revel in the yardstick dye-transfer prints made through a very special and elaborate craft that in the hands of the very few experts able to master it, provides the photographer with almost boundless control over the look of the final print, as well as hugely building up the fulfillment of what the artist tries to convey, with the added benefit of a flawless archival duration of 300 years.

 © jmse 

From the very beginning of his approximately 55 years of career as a professional photographer during the first half of sixties in United States on a shoestring, Hiroji Kubota learned very much from great photographers like Elliott Erwitt, René Burri, Cornell Capa, André Kertész and others, always with a practical approach not based on technique but on constant observation and many visits to Magnum´s New York Office on Fifth Avenue and 47th Street, where he got a great friendship with Wayne Miller, then president of the photographic agency.

Hiroji Kubota spent many hours a day there, painstakingly studying Henri Cartier- Bresson´s contact sheets and understanding that to concentrate on what you feel compelled to do is fundamental to get good pictures.

Furthermore, he likewise thoroughly analyzed the contact sheets of Bruce Davidson´s East 100th Street photographic essay made between 1966 and 1968 in New York with a 4 x 5 (10 x 12 cm) Linhof Technika large format camera.

Both visual experiences were very important for Hiroji Kubota to grasp composition, interactions among the elements inside the frame, and how to meet people eye to eye and photograph them without intruding.

Those aspects along with the best possible use of available light have always been the mainstay of Hiroji Kubota´s photographic production, without forgetting a wise selection of depth of field.

Tsuyoshi Kawahara, Director of the Japanese Cultural Center, giving his speech during the opening event of the " Hiroji Kubota Photographer Exhibition " held inside Westlicht Photographica Auction between March 3 and May 22, 2016, which also had further introductory utterances delivered by Peter Coeln (owner of Westlicht Vienna) and Annette Booth (Director of Exhibitions Management at Aperture Gallery in New York since 2004, one of the leading organizers of photographic exhibitions worldwide and at the moment enthralled by Hiroji Kubota´s dye transfer prints since November 17, 2015). The front area of the speech podium looked the part covered with a big print of The Golden Rock image created by the Japanese Magnum photographer in 1978. 
© Westlicht

He has photographed more than 40 countries, having made four million images until now, in which cultural factor and spirituality are very strong, with a remarkable symbolism, giving dignity to the people and places he photographs, in addition to conveying maximum emotions, such as happens with his Golden Rock image.

In 1971, the Japanese photographer became a Magnum associate and since then he has learned very much from the agency photographers. From left to right : Chris Anderson, Moises Saman, Thomas Hoepker, Gilles Peress, David Hurn, Ian Berry, Marc Power, Donovan Wylie, Paolo Pellegrin, Eli Reed, Alex Webb, Richard Kalvar, Peter Marlow, George Rodger´s wife, Erich Lessing, Marco Bischof, David Alan Harvey, Larry Towell, Abbas, Hiroji Kubota, Jerome Sessini, Jonas Bendiksen, Josef Koudelka, Susan Meiselas, Cristina García Rodero, Olivia Arthur, Bieke Depoorter, Thomas Dworzak, Chris Steele-Perkins, Harry Gruyaert, Nikos Economopoulos, Mikhael Subotzky, Chie-Chi Chang and Peter van Agtmael. Magnum Photographers Annual Picture made in London in 2013. 
© Claire Yaffa

Throughout his extensive career as a professional photographer, Hiroji Kubota has been particularly prolific getting pictures in United States, China, Burma, Japan, North and South Korea and Vietnam, as a long term observer of the changing world, with projects whose fruition has always taken years in which to be sensitive to subjects and shoot meaningful things were key factors.

On the other hand, the photo books created by the Japanese Magnum photographer hitherto are real works of art, with uncompromising level of picture quality, excellent layout, smart selection of images being multifaceted portraits of the traveled countries, first-rate paper and grammar and sturdy covers, specially standing out:

- China, whose first edition was published in 1985, with 185 great pictures chosen from a total of roughly 200,000 that were made by Hiroji Kubota between 1978 and 1985 in all zones of the country

- Japan, where the photographer offers a visual portrait of his country nowadays. It features 228 pages, and the first edition was published in 2005. This is a book that truly captures the essence of the Japanese nation, whose ancient beauty and traditions are very well depicted, with breathtaking images covering rice paddies, old temples, Honda assembly plants and so forth.

- From Sea To Shining Sea : A Portrait of America, featuring 297 pages in 31.8 x 2.5 x 30.2 cm format, whose first edition was in 1992. One of Hiroji Kubota´s most sold books. He needed three years and more than 3,500 rolls of 35 mm color film to produce a beautiful collection of pictures focusing not only on the scenery but also in the faces of America, so there are images depicting the bison of the Western plains, village meetings in New England, the towering office blocks of New York's financial center, the pueblo dwellings of New Mexico, factory workers in Detroit, farmers in the Southeast, etc, travelling all over the United States to portray the beauty and huge variety of characters within the United States.

- Hiroji Kubota Photographer, a milestone book featuring 512 pages and including a highly comprehensive choice of his most defining images made during his long career as a professional photographer, including some pretty interesting and not very known pictures made by him in North Korea during fourteen different trips over a period of 40 years, some of which were shown for the first time at the exhibition " Hiroji Kubota : Korea, Above the 38th Parallel " held at the ICP of New York between July 29 and September 11 of 1988.

Published by Aperture. Its first edition was in 2015 and is a must have for every admirer of Hiroji Kubota´s photographic production and aesthetic sensibility and unbridled élan to generate beauty for more than 55 years after a childhood in devastated postwar Japan.


In addition to the aforementioned worldwide exhibitions and venues where Hiroji Kubota´s Golden Rock picture was on display, this iconic image had also its space in the extraordinary 524 pages and 29 x 34.8 cm large format book " Magnum Contact Sheet ",

© jmse

the best work of all time in its scope, made by the world-class photography pundit Kristen Lubben (Curator at the International Center of Photography in New York since 1997 and organizer of more than twenty exhibitions there), published in 2014 by Thames & Hudson and containing the contact sheets of 79 Magnum photographers made between 1933 and 2010.

As a matter of fact, the Golden Rock picture deserved a gorgeous two-page spread (250 and 251) in 32 x 46 cm size, in which the South Korean Pacom firm made a superb work of printing from the digitized original Kodachrome 64 slide, managing to obtain through the synergy between traditional craftsmanship, cutting-edge technology, unparalleled expertise and devotion to handmade philosophy keynotes pioneered by Jikjisimgyeong (oldest printing method with metal type, dating back to 1377) really praiseworthy color precision, resolving power and lavish level of detail, as well as wonderfully preserving the textures, reliefs, deep blacks in shadows and brightness zones of the Golden Rock, attaining remarkable sharpness in exceedingly small areas of the image surface like the golden bracelet of the third Buddhist monk from right and the protruding three bamboo canes from the small pagoda on top (out of image).

© jmse

Pages 250 and 251 of the book " Magnum Contact Sheets " showing Hiroji Kubota´s Golden Rock picture printed in 32 x 46 cm size.

A photograph summing up the old saying that an image is worth a thousand words and Elliott Erwitt´s statement that the instinct that creates great photography is casual and uncontrollable.

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