Daido Moriyama “Photobook ACCIDENT installation”

Dates: Sep 22 – Oct 22, 2011
Location: Taka Ishii Gallery Photography / Film (Roppongi, Tokyo)
Opening reception: Sep 22, 18:00 – 20:00


An installation of the book will be held at the Taka Ishii Gallery Photography/Film from September 22nd to October 22nd, 2011, please see details on the following pages.

Daido Moriyama has been at the forefront of Japanese photography since the start of his career in the late 1960s. His work is characterized by continual experimentation and exploration, searching for new means and fresh approaches to extending the potential of the photographic practice. As a result, Moriyama‘s oeuvre—apart from his photographic prints—is comprised of numerous volumes of writings, experiments and collaborations in publishing, mostly notably Provoke, teaching/workshop activities that have helped to galvanize a new era for photography in Japan, and a vast number of his photobooks, many of which number amongst the seminal books of postwar Japanese photography.

ACCIDENT takes the photobook and edges it closer to the artist‘s multiple. The individual spreads of the book are silk-screened prints that have been affixed together and folded to form an accordion that is 20 meters in length when fully extended. The choice of printing the entirety of the book in silk screen is meant to give the images a materiality through the reproduction process, underscoring the larger ideas of this early body of Moriyama‘s work. ACCIDENT as a photographic series was created for a column running monthly in 1969 in the magazine Asahi Camera. The publication of ACCIDENT is the first time this series has been realized as a bookwork.

Moriyama Daido has been publishing and exhibiting his photography since the late 1960s. A major retrospective, Daido Moriyama: Stray Dog, originated in 2000 at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and subsequently toured internationally to The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Japan Society in New York, Fotomuseum Winterthur in Switzerland and numerous other venues. He is a recipient of The Cultural Award of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie. Forthcoming exhibitions include a major retrospective, On the Road, to be presented at the Osaka National Museum of Art from June to October 2011, and William Klein/Daido Moriyama at Tate Modern from October 2012 to January 2013.


In its essence, photography is a copy of reality. Apart from which, depending on the medium in which it is reprinted, the photograph changes. How the image is realized determines not only its form but also its content. The Accident series originally appeared in a monthly column I contributed to the magazine Asahi Camera in 1969; it ran for one year. In this book, I have attempted to ―print‖ that work using silk screen printing. As a result, what was at the heart of that series has been actualized on these pages through the silk screen process. In the space between an image and its facsimile, there is a dangerous balance. In a sense, that space resembles the tension between the act of taking a photograph and the moment of intending to release the shutter. Through the use of silk screen, this image/facsimilie, and also the act/intention dicotomies collide and release sparks just as the title of the book intimates.

The photographs that comprises the Accident series were shot in the late 1960s and the early 1970s. At that time, there was a broad awakening of political awareness happening around the world, including Japan. Everywhere on the streets of Tokyo, demonstrations and student rallies were happening on a daily basis. It was the Season of Politics. Of course, we photographers did not avert our eyes from the state of societal affairs. But, at the time, I also held deep reservations about the medium of photography. Namely, photography is a media that can directly record truth. Yet at the same time, the actuality before out eyes—such as images of the Watergate Scandal and the Vietnam War—had an estrangement of image from reality. Photography as a media failed to record the truth; that was the problem. Photography is truth and simultaneously it is a lie. This is something that I continued to sense acutely as doubt in the duality/contradiction inherentin a photograph‘s image. That having been said, such photography that has both truth and fiction as well as multiplicity can, in fact, further open and expand the potential of expression through photography. Photography supercedes a momentary and fixed idea; it supercedes language and becomes a language unto itself. The images of the Accident series actualized through silk screen printing have been given a freshness and impact.

Daido Moriyama
June 2011