Daido Moriyama is a Japanese photographer noted for his images depicting the breakdown of traditional values in post-war Japan. Born October 10, 1938 in Ikeda, Osaka. Daido Moriyama studied photography under Takeji Iwamiya before moving to Tokyo in 1961 to work as an assistant of 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. Though not exclusively, Moriyama predominantly takes high contrast, grainy, black and white photographs within the Shinjuku area of Tokyo, often shot from odd angles.
The images he captures often show everyday people and everyday things in a manner not to be found in the average Tokyo tourist guidebook. Whether by using blur or cropping, Moriyama’s bleak and lonely black-and-white pictures have garnered him the reputation as one of Japan’s great modern photographers. The people of Moriyama’s work are often faceless, covered in shadow or obscured by blur. It is not unusual for a backside – a couple descending stairs, for example – to be the image’s main element. Unlike Araki, who generally uses color photography to target women in various settings, Moriyama’s focus is capturing Shinjuku’s blend of old, new, and unpredictable in monochrome.
Many of Moriyama’s images imply action of some kind has happened or is about to happen – even if that is truly not the case. The feeling is that of drifting in and out of a scene: a hostess draws a cigarette from her pack as two of her colleagues watch for customers near their club’s brightly lit entryway; a woman moving through a crowded street scene casts a glance over her right shoulder, the upper half of her bare backside showing a few tattoos with the rest obscured by shadow. Daido Moriyama was influenced at an early age by the work of American photographer William Klein known for its blurry images and the variety of angles and perspective used.
By using the curtain as a kind of screen, running interference on an otherwise straight-ahead subject, Moriyama reminds viewers that what they see is not the world as it exists but a highly stylized, filtered version of it. Indeed, looking through Moriyama’s very specific perspective, seeing through his hungry eyes, sets the mind wandering.
Official site: www.moriyamadaido.com