Media - 2017.44.50 - SAAM-2017.44.50_1 - 136940
Copied Ken Ohara, ONE, 1970, printed 1998, gelatin silver print, image: 20 78 × 18 18 in. (53.0 × 46.0 cm) sheet: 24 × 20 in. (61.0 × 50.8 cm), Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of Setsuko Ono, 2017.44.50

Artwork Details

1970, printed 1998
image: 20 78 × 18 18 in. (53.0 × 46.0 cm) sheet: 24 × 20 in. (61.0 × 50.8 cm)
Credit Line
Gift of Setsuko Ono
Mediums Description
gelatin silver print
Object Number

Artwork Description

All these faces have the same tightly cropped, eye-level view. The uniformly dark tone of the prints makes skin color appear more similar. Both of these techniques establish an equivalence among subjects and emphasize individuality through details of facial features. How might this influence your perspective of individual and group identity?

In 1962, Ken Ohara moved from Tokyo to New York City, where he worked as an assistant to photographers. On his days off, he photographed on the streets and in city parks, gathering faces for ONE. Originally published as a book without text, Ohara thought of this collection of over five hundred portraits as "a telephone book of faces."