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Source: Guardian.co.uk

Daido Moriyama at Cartier Institute, Paris

[Source of featured image: guardian.com]

I was lucky to visit Diado Moriyama’s ‘Tokyo’ exhibition at the Cartier Institute in Paris during a business trip to the city. Moriyama has long been an inspiration for me.

This one of the first shows of Moriyama’s recent colour work, but it was accompanied by a slide show of his early black and white photos too. O’Hagan’s article explores why Moriyama has chosen to shoot in colour after so many years in black and white  – though I’m still unclear of the reason, other than ‘There are no other deep reasons for this work except feeling and emotion.’ My notes made during the show and some iPhone shots are attached below.

Points of significance for me:

  1. The show was a spectacle, with large billboard size displays of colour images. Bringing the streets of Tokyo to a Paris gallery. It is the first time I had experienced a photography as a ‘show’.  The print sizes seemed to fly in the face of conventional wisdom for print sizes as Moriyama mostly works with simple point and shoot cameras. I should explore the boundaries of having larger prints made of some of my own work.
  2. Moriyama’s photos are abstracts from everyday Tokyo life. People, objects, places. His focus seems not so much on the entirety of his subjects but on elements of lines, shapes and colours that form part of the subjects and often connote rather than represent the subjects. There is a close-up intimate feel to the work. Again, given the simple cameras he generally uses, I was left wondering how much cropping took place for some of the subjects that it would have been difficult to get close to. Perhaps heavy cropping is not detrimental to gritty street photos.
  3. The photos show a passion for the streets of Tokyo. They are obsessive about the life of the streets. For a man of 77 years they are a life’s work. Photography is Moriyama’s way of expressing his passion. In one text display he says he often returns to the same subject again and a again, ‘like a dog pissing on its territory’. There must be passion for photos to express something of the subject.
  4. I felt excited looking at the work – I wanted to get out and take photos as soon as possible. This must give some clues for the direction of my own work.

I purchased the catalogue of the exhibition, which I will review in another post once I have worked through a backlog of other reading material.


O’Hagan S ( 2016). Guardian [online]. Tokyo: the city that came out of the shadows. Available from: http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/feb/07/daido-moriyama-street-photographer-tokyo-colour-fondation-cartier-interview [accessed 13.2.16]


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