Exhibits to Watch in 2013: Keizo Kitajima at Little Big Man

Andrey Samolenko, 43 years old, the security chief of the Krasnoyarsk hydroelectric power plant. The Krasnoyarsk hydroelectric plant began operations in 1967 on the 50th anniversary of the Russian Revolution. At the time, it was the pride of the Soviet Union. The trophy in the foreground was presented to the plant by Aeroflot in commemoration of its tenth anniversary.© Keizo Kitajima

If you're planning to see any photo shows in March, you should probably make your way to San Francisco: along with SFMOMA's Garry Winogrand retrospective, independent gallery Little Big Man will host a solo exhibit of work by Japanese photographer Keizo Kitajima. There's actually some correspondence between these two shows: Winogrand and Kitajima are both esteemed street photographers in their own countries. Still, the Little Big Man exhibit isn't purely "street photography": although Kitajima cut his teeth on the streets of Tokyo and New York, "USSR 1991" is the result of a lengthy trip he took to the former Soviet Union on the eve of its collapse. On assignment from a Japanese newspaper, and speaking little (if none) of the local languages, he produced a body of work which is notable for his intimate portraits.

4 APR 1991 BERKAKIT, RUSSIAN SFSR

4 APR 1991 BERKAKIT, RUSSIAN SFSR

© Keizo Kitajima

Kitajima traveled all across the country, taking in the different cultures and peoples within the Soviet Union. Although he captured his subjects in vivid color, his extensive captions (which were saved in his notebooks) provide a deeper look into their personal lives.

29 SEP 1991 ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIAN SFSR

29 SEP 1991 ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIAN SFSR

© Keizo Kitajima
16 MAY 1991 AKADEMGORODOK, RUSSIAN SFSR

16 MAY 1991 AKADEMGORODOK, RUSSIAN SFSR

© Keizo Kitajima