Chris Gullett Photography

Fusartaro Hammer Fist and Steel

This gentleman is a very rare master Japanese sword smith. He is a 25th generation smith, and legacy of the Kanefusa family tradition. His swords command extremely high prices (comparable to a BMW), and are coveted by CEOs of large Japanese companies, very serious collectors and practitioners of Japanese martial arts. Permission to photograph him in Japan is a privilege rarely permitted.  

This shot was challenging; the smithy is kept very dark so that the smith can judge the temperature of the steel by the intensity and color of the glow.  This is shot at wide angle so I am closer to the anvil than it appears.  The first hammer strike after a heating cycle causes an explosion as loud as a gunshot; this explosion peppered my face and camera with white hot steel sparks.  The first cycle was quite a shock. 

I love how the smiths fist and hammer are visible at the heart of the explosion in this photo. 

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