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Mt. Fuji's summit
Private collection of Rob Oechsle
Unusually dramatic, close image of Mt. Fuji's summit. Hand-tinted lantern-slide. While most images from this period show a more distant Mt. Fuji, usually in the context of picturesque foregrounds, Enami moves in to give us a dramatic look at the mountain in low sunlightà.with winds bringing the clouds to a roiling boil about the peak. Enami would also climb Mt. Fuji (possibly more than once) to give us several unusual views showing the often rough and desolate nature of the place -- in high contrast to the symmetrical vision of loveliness often ascribed to it by the poets, whose lofty words of praise framed the Sacred Peak with Cherry Blossoms and visions of Geisha Girls. Of course, those who actually make the climb probably bring along a few volumes of such poetry in order to burn it, warming their hands over the welcome flames as they huddle in frozen misery on the less-than-symmetrical summit. Stereo-photographer Herbert Ponting almost lost his life here when caught alone in a blinding storm. Fortunately, most climbers survived the trek, forgave the mountain, and brought back both real and surreal images to show the world. The only worse environment for the old-time photographers in Japan was being on the crater-lip of an explosively erupting volcano.