Widely known as the master of street photography, the works of Daido Moriyama’s work are one of the defining Japanese photography aesthetic rising out of the 1960s.
Moriyama’s characteristic aesthetic are-bure-boke (rough, blurred, out of focus) eschewed the trend of straight, journalistic photography dominant from the 1960s to 1970s. Even as the nation was struggling to rebuild itself from the ravages of the atomic bomb, he was never engrossed in documenting objective reality. Instead, he fervently interrogated the act of seeing and photography itself. How could photographs grasp aspects of the world that elude consciousness and language? It was this critical engagement with the materiality of photography that led him to describe his works as “something lurking that cannot be defined... like fragments”.
Mapping City focus on city that is entrenched in Moriyama’s explorations. Strongly influenced by American photographer William Klein and novelist Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957), Moriyama’s eyes roamed freely over the mysterious and desirous offerings of Tokyo, like a stray dog scavenging for food. Some of these gritty and jarring photographs were lyrically arranged and published as Hunter (1972), which Moriyama once described as resembling “a kind of road map of images from all over Japan through a moving car window”.
(Text taken from exhibition, Mapping City’s press release, written by Gwen Lee)
DAIDO MORIYAMA (b.1938 in Ikeda-shi, Osaka) Daido Moriyama is one of Japan’s leading figures in photography. Initially trained as a designer, Moriyama switched over to photography after working as an assistant for Takeji Iwamiya and Eikoh Hosoe, eventually becoming a freelance photographer in 1964. For series such as “Japan: A Photo Theater”, which appeared in Camera Mainichi in 1967, he received the New Artist Award from the Japan Photo-Critics Association. In recent years, large-scale exhibitions of Moriyama’s work have been held at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1999; traveling to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Japan Society, New York), the National Museum of Art, Osaka (2011), and London’s Tate Modern (double exhibition with William Klein 2012-13). In 2012, Moriyama received the Infinity Award from the International Center of Photography (New York), which cemented his high profile international reputation. His recent photo books include Shinjuku (2002, winner of the Mainichi Art Award 2003), Monochrome and Color (both 2012), and Dog and Mesh Tights (2015).