Daido Moriyama | Vintage prints from the 80’s

Date: Mar 16 – Apr 13, 2024
Location: Taka Ishii Gallery Photography / Film

Taka Ishii Gallery Photography / Film is pleased to present Daido Moriyama | Vintage Prints from the 80s from Saturday, March 16 to Saturday, April 13. Moriyama’s 19th solo show at Taka Ishii Gallery and his first in four years, the exhibition will feature 18 vintage prints produced in the 1980s.

I was unable to clearly envision the era I was living through, and my faculties began to steadily decay and atrophy. As always, it wasn’t a question of not being able to find the exit, but of not being able to locate the entrance. Then one day I found myself standing there all alone, nothing remaining but a dusty camera and the sun above. When this simple truth struck me that sunny day, it was a critical turning point. Without hesitation, I stood in the light, camera in hand. Below me was my shadow, and that was all I needed. From that moment on I was back on my path, which led me to the photo book Light and Shadow. From there, I re-embarked on a journey that I believe will never end.

Daido Moriyama, Memories of a Dog, Kawade Shobo Shinsha, 2001, p. 260.

In 1972, Moriyama published the photo book Farewell Photography, which represented a zenith of the iconoclastic photographic style characterized as are, bure, boke (rough, blurred, and out-of-focus). However, he subsequently fell into a slump as he wrestled with an uncertain relationship to his artistic medium. During this time he was approached by Akira Suei, then editor-in-chief of Shashin Jidai (published by Byakuya Shobo), and in 1981 Moriyama embarked on a series titled Light and Shadow which was serialized in the magazine. These works depicting everyday subjects such as flowers, cars, and street signs were compiled into a photo book of the same name the following year, and won the Photographer of the Year Award from The Photographic Society of Japan. True to its title, the work harks back to the origins of black-and-white photography, when everything consisted of gradations of light and shadow, and its crisp images vividly capture the innate textures of each of its subjects. In 1982 and 1983, Moriyama’s series Memories of a Dog ran in Asahi Camera, and the photographs were accompanied by his autobiographical texts. In 1987 he published the photo book Journey to Nakaji, a tribute to fellow photographer and Osaka native Nakaji Yasui. Seeking to re-examine the essence of photography and reconnect with the medium, Moriyama published Lettre à St. Lou in 1990, expanding on the themes of Light and Shadow and exploring the techniques of one of the fathers of photography, Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. Moriyama also ventured into new collaborative territory, teaming up with the fashion brand Hysteric Glamour on the project Daido hysteric. In this exhibition, we invite you to appreciate Moriyama’s prints from the 1980s, a crucial phase in the career of one of Japan’s acknowledged masters of photography.

Daido Moriyama was born in Ikeda, Osaka in 1938. He first trained in graphic design before taking up photography under Takeji Iwamiya and Eikoh Hosoe as an assistant. He became an independent photographer in 1964, publishing Nippon Gekijō Shashinchō (Japan Theater Photo Album) in 1968 and Shashin yo Sayounara (Farewell Photography) in 1972; the work showed the darker sides of urban life and the city. He has had a radical impact on the photographic and art world in both Japan and in the West, with his expressive style of ‘are, bure, boke’ (rough, blurred and out-of-focus) and of quick snapshots without looking in the viewfinder. His solo exhibitions include “William Klein + Daido Moriyama,” Tate Modern, London (2012); “On the Road,” The National Museum of Art, Osaka (2011); “Daido Retrospective 1965-2005 / Daido Hawaii,” The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (2008); Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Sevilla (2007); Foam, Amsterdam (2006); Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, Paris (2003); Fotomuseum Winterthur (2000); San Francisco MOMA (1999, travelling to The Metropolitan Museum, New York). He is a recipient of The Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography (2019); the Lifetime Achievement award at the 28th Annual Infinity Awards from International Center of Photography, New York (2012); The Culture Award from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie, Cologne (2004); The Photographic Society of Japan Lifetime Achievement Award (2004); the Mainichi Art Award (2003) and the Japan Photo Critics Association Newcomer’s Award (1967).

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