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b. 1938, Japan

Daido Moriyama Biography

At the heart of Daido Moriyama's black and white, gritty, and starkly contrasted photographs lies a fascination with the modern city—a constantly shifting space, populated with the pushes and pulls of tradition and new values, whirling with desire. While acclaimed for his snapshots of the underside of rapidly changing Japanese society in the 1960s and 70s, Moriyama is also known for his immortalisation of ordinary yet beautiful moments.

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Moriyama was born and raised in Osaka, where he originally trained as a graphic designer. Captivated by the energy of a photography studio he visited, he decided to take on photography and joined Osaka-based photographer Takeji Iwamiya's studio in 1959. Two years later, Moriyama moved to Tokyo for VIVO, a prominent photographers' collective. When the group disbanded soon after his arrival, Eikoh Hosoe—a founding member of VIVO—took Moriyama in as his assistant.

In 1964, Moriyama began working as a freelance photographer. He was hugely inspired by Jack Kerouac's On the Road and William Klein's confrontational, documentary-style photo books charting life in New York, but also by the writings of Yukio Mishima, street and crime scene photography of Weegee, and silk screened images of Andy Warhol. Moriyama took to the streets with a small compact camera, with which he has always worked since, and took snapshots of mundane, passing moments that interested him. 'Japan: A Photo Theatre', his first major series published in 1968, brings attention to a Tokyo that was then undergoing an immense transformation, breaking off with traditions to become a modern, urban city, through photographs of a traveling theatre group.

The year 1968 also coincided with the establishment of Provoke, a radical photography magazine founded by Japanese photographers and poets—among them Takahiko Okada, Takuma Nakahira, and Koji Taki—and which Moriyama joined in the second issue. While Provoke lasted only three installments, its saturated, anti-academic, and experimental aesthetic became influential on younger generations of Japanese photographers. Known as the are-bure-boke style, roughly translated as 'grainy, blurry, out of focus', the Provoke style is foremost associated with Moriyama's oeuvre. His revolutionary spirit is captured in 'Farewell Photography' (1972), in which the artist includes technological mistakes as finished products, pushing at the definition of a successful photographic image.

Gaining reputation, Moriyama was a central figure in the group exhibition New Japanese Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1974, which traveled to several locations including Minneapolis Institute of Art and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Moriyama himself began to travel outside Japan, visiting New York for the first time with graphic designer Tadanori Yokoo in 1971. In the Ocula Report Daido Moriyama: The Erotics of Photography (2019), Tianyuan Deng describes the photographs taken during this trip—published under the title Another Country in New York in 1974—as '[insisting] on the "photographed-ness" of photography'. Strategies such as using two vertical cells of sequential films in each image, for example, stress the quality of seriality that is intrinsic to photography.

While most known for his monochrome photography, Moriyama has been working with colour since the 1970s. In 2016, Fondation Cartier pour l'art Contemporain in Paris organised Daido Tokyo, his first major solo exhibition to focus on colour photographs, that showed 'Tokyo Color' (2008—2015)—a series containing 86 chromogenic prints of scenes from Shinjuku, Tokyo. Daido Tokyo also included the black-and-white series 'Dog and Mesh Tights' (2014—5), similarly taken in Tokyo, with the title borrowed from Moriyama's earlier iconic works. One of them, Stray Dog (1971) captures a stray dog he saw outside a hotel in Aomori, gazing ambiguously into the camera, while the 'Tights' series (1986) consists of erotic photographs of fishnet stockings that evoke abstract configurations.

A highly prolific artist, Moriyama has published over 150 photo books and held more than 100 solo exhibitions since 1968. In 2004, he was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Photographic Society of Japan; in 2019, he won the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography.

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 Contemporaneo, Sevilla (2007), _Foam (_Amsterdam, 2006), Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain (Paris, 2003), Fotomuseum Winterthur (Winterthur, 2000), San Francisco MOMA (1999, travelling to The Metropolitan Museum, New York). He is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement award at the 28th Annual Infinity Awards (International Center of Photography, New York, 2012) and The Culture Award from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Photographie (DGPh, 2004).

Sherry Paik | Ocula | 2019

Daido Moriyama Featured Artworks

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Shinjuku by Daido Moriyama contemporary artwork
Daido MoriyamaShinjuku, 2000–2004/2004Silver gelatin print
100 x 150 cm
Simon Lee Gallery Contact Gallery
Shinjuku by Daido Moriyama contemporary artwork
Daido MoriyamaShinjuku, 1966/2003Silver gelatin print
150 x 100 cm
Simon Lee Gallery Contact Gallery
Light and Shadow 1: (Flower) by Daido Moriyama contemporary artwork
Daido MoriyamaLight and Shadow 1: (Flower), 1981/printed laterGelatin silver print
38.5 x 57.9 cm
Taka Ishii Gallery Contact Gallery
Color by Daido Moriyama contemporary artwork
Daido MoriyamaColor, 2016/2017Lambda print
133.3 x 100.2 cm
Taka Ishii Gallery Contact Gallery
Aomori, Japan by Daido Moriyama contemporary artwork
Daido MoriyamaAomori, Japan, 1971Gelatin silver print
50 x 60 cm
Gallery Fifty One Contact Gallery
Shinjuku by Daido Moriyama contemporary artwork
Daido MoriyamaShinjuku, 2003Gelatin silver print
Reflex Amsterdam Contact Gallery
Provoke No. 2 by Daido Moriyama contemporary artwork
Daido MoriyamaProvoke No. 2, 1969Gelatin silver print
20 x 24 inches
Bruce Silverstein Contact Gallery

Daido Moriyama Recent Exhibitions

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Daido Moriyama Represented By

Simon Lee Gallery contemporary art gallery in Hong Kong Simon Lee Gallery Hong Kong, London
Taka Ishii Gallery contemporary art gallery in Complex665, Tokyo, Japan Taka Ishii Gallery Tokyo, Hong Kong

Daido Moriyama In Ocula Magazine

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Daido Moriyama In Related Press

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Daido Moriyama: An interview with Bree Zucker Related Press Daido Moriyama: An interview with Bree Zucker 9 January 2017, BOMB Magazine

Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama has garnered near-cultic fascination since his images began to infiltrate the American consciousness in the late 1990s. At that time, his work rode to prominence on the wave of discovery surrounding Japanese photography—especially for book enthusiasts, who championed the strangely beautiful amalgam of poetic...

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Tokyo: photogenic to its very core Related Press Tokyo: photogenic to its very core 14 December 2016, The Japan Times

With Tokyo being the object of so many excellent photographers’ interest over the last 150 odd years, it’s entirely legitimate that the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum should be bringing it home. What’s on display in the first exhibition, displayed on the third floor, is a selection from the museum’s world-class permanent...

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The urban chaos of Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama Related Press The urban chaos of Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama 30 May 2016, Art Radar Journal

Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain in Paris launched a major show of the Japanese photographer’s most recent work in February 2016. Charting some of Moriyama’s most significant oeuvre of the past decade, the exhibition brings to the fore the artist’s lesser-known colour photography as well as a new body of...

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Eroticism in Japanese photography Related Press Eroticism in Japanese photography 17 May 2016, China Daily Asia

Eroticism in Japanese photography - a talk about the male gaze and more with two female Japanese photographers - Tokyo Rumando and Hideka Tonomura - about their photographic work, currently on show along side work of 11 other renowned Japanese artists at Blindspot gallery in Hong Kong. Curated by Mimi Chun and Mark Pearson

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Daido Moriyama In Video & Audio

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