“If you were to ask me to define a photograph in a few words, I would say it is a fossil of light and time,” observes Daido Moriyama. “When I take photographs my body inevitably enters a trancelike state. Briskly weaving my way through the avenues, every cell in my body becomes as sensitive as radar, responsive to the life of the streets… If I were to give it words, I would say: ‘I have no choice… I have to shoot this… I can’t leave this place for another’s eyes… I have to shoot it… I have no choice.’ An endless, murmuring refrain.”
Born in 1938 in Osaka, Japan, Daido Moriyama has risen to become one of the most pre-eminent fine-art photographers working today. He began his career as a freelance photographer in 1964, frequently shooting around the American military base in Yokosuka. He began publishing books and showing his work in 1968, and by 1974, his work was being show at the Museum of Modern Art, NY.
As witness to the changes that transformed Japan after World War II, Moriyama’s photographs expose a side of his native land that few outsiders know. With the development of cities and the cold, brutality of urban life, Moriyama’s work reveals the darker side of Japanese life. Occupying a space between reality and illusion, Moriyama’s grainy black-and-white photographs take on a surreal effect, showing us the intense, chaotic nature of the world in which we live.
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Photo: From Tokyo Color (2008-2015) featured in the book Daido Tokyo, Daido Moriyama, C-print, 111.5 x 149 cm. © Daido Moriyama Photo Foundation.