Photographer Profile ~ Daido Moriyama

Born in Ikeda, Osaka, Daidō Moriyama studied photography under Takeji Iwamiya before moving to Tokyo in 1961 to work as an assistant to Eikoh Hosoe. He produced a collection of photographs, Nippon gekijō shashinchō, which showed the darker sides of urban life and the less-seen parts of cities. In them, he attempted to show how life in certain areas was being left behind the other industrialised parts.

In Shinjuku, Tokyo, corporate salarymen and government officials share the streets with prostitutes, mobsters, and housewives shopping for dinner. Daido Moriyama, one of Japan’s most repected photographers “lives” here; on any given day, you’ll find Daido strolling casually through the narrow back streets, his small Ricoh GR film camera casually held in his right hand.

Moriyama draws from the seedy energy that is intrinsic to Shinjuku, which by design or happy accident includes Tokyo’s business center, political center, and the Yakuza’s gambling, prostitution, and pornography industries. “There’s no other place that includes so much immorality. There’s no other place that has such raw power.” His influences are Shomei Tomatsu, William Klein, Andy Warhol  and Jack Kerouac's On the Road.

Moriyama is known for his high contrast, grainy, black and white photographs often at taken at canted angles. Moriyama's work since the 1980's is lighter, crisper, and on a larger scale than before. The new clarity, perhaps reflecting the more secure vision of a more mature artist, nonetheless retains the perceptive intellect and compositional power evidenced throughout Moriyama's career.

[via Theme Magazine and wiki and other sources]

 "For me, photography is not a means by which to create beautiful art, but a unique way of encountering genuine reality"
~ Daido Moriyama

"My photography is about desire. The internal world meets the outside world and takes shape. When [my] desire takes some kind of shape, it becomes a photograph."  ~ Moriyama

"I just enjoy strolling around the city with my camera. Those are my favorite moments. And drinking in Shinjuku, of course. I can’t imagine doing anything else; it’s where I feel most alive." ~  Moriyama

 “I have to be aggressive to take photos in Shinjuku,” says Moriyama, who might shoot 20 rolls of 36-exposure film on an average day. “In Shinjuku, you take photos quickly. Judging the quality of a particular shot doesn't come first sometimes.”  ~ Daidō Moriyama

“I want to express the realness of Japan. I want to show what is really going on.” ~ Daidō Moriyama


Watch videos on Moriyama here and here

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