“I don’t think that many people in Japan know who Edward Steichen is,” says curator Miki Tsukada in a surprisingly honest comment about visitors to the Setagaya Art Museum’s current exhibition. “But I do think a large audience in Japan is drawn to the ‘high fashion’ of the exhibition title.”

If couture is the attraction, “Edward Steichen in High Fashion” will not disappoint. Famous in the West as a pioneer of fashion photography, Steichen is credited with taking the genre, which was then relatively new, to a level of sophistication that still inspires photographers today. In an age of black-and-white printing, his unprecedented use of studio lighting to chiaroscuro effect made him the favorite with Condé Nast, for whom he was a chief photographer for Vogue and Vanity Fair during the 1920s and ’30s.

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