Monday, March 9, 2009

photographing japan

children going to new year's event, Nigata, 1956
women harvesting rice, Yamagata 1955

Hiroshi Hamaya, a Tokyo native born in 1915, started photographing people at the age of 15. He went on to be a self-taught freelance photographer from the age of 21 and in 1960, became Magnum's first Asian photographer. His early work focused on the relationship between humans and nature. One of his first collections documented a snow village in Japan in 1946 and from there on he travelled around the world continuing his focus on people and their relationship to their surroundings. He covered the demonstration against the US and Japan Security Treaty but then returned to his original focus and began work on an aerial photo series. He died in 1999 but not without making a huge impact on photography in Japan and worldwide. His black and white striking landscapes and emotion-filled portraits earned him the Hasselblad Award in 1987. Hiroshi captured Japanese and other cultures at their roots, showing the labor and environment out of which our current societies grew. He stated that he has learned a lot about Japanese people by observing nature, and he has surely opened up this connection through his photos. In a world of brightly colored purikura, animae, and bustling streets of a nocturnal Tokyo, Hiroshi Hamaya's photos speak to me and my passion for the natural world and the human connection with it: a connection that technology and artificiality separates more and more each day. Click on the links for an interview with Hiroshi Hamaya and examples of his nature photography.

"I like the idea that my work isn't intended only for the Earth, but for the entire Universe!"


1 comment:

  1. Nice choice - I really like his black and white work. Can you hotlink the sources?