Daido Moriyama is a fascinating photographer and is widely recognized as one of Japan’s most important and influential photographers, particularly for his depictions of what he saw as the breakdown of traditional values in post-war Japan. I also like the way photography is appreciated in Japan as it seems to be so much more fluid, free to do as you please without all those minions saying you should do this or do it that way. His work is characterised by powerful, high contrast black-and-white pictures, concentrating on the little-seen parts of the city and highlighting the effects of industrialisation on modern life in Japan.
Perhaps its more of a cultural thing that we have to categorize different genres of photography and lay down rules to make people conform and control them…
Araki is another Japanese photographer that I admire who shoots everything from soft porn to school open days, and that is a combination you probably won’t see in the UK, well not openly! The question of whether Araki’s work is Art or Porn? Well read here I like the answer at the end “To Araki it makes little difference. In the end, his subject is the everyday – or his everyday – the poignant and the touching, the messy and the disturbing.”
I only have one book of Daido Moriyama’s (at the moment) “Tales Of Tono” which is full of dark and broody rural scenes. The book features work shot in the countryside of northern Honshu, Japan. Taking its name from a collection of Japanese rural folk legends, its non-narrative diptychs display a nascent nostalgia, whilst the formal qualities of the photos embrace the grainy and raw techniques that Moriyama brought to his more urban subject matter.