Eikoh Hosoe, One of the Masters of Japanese Photography

29.02.2020

WordsSolenn Cordroc'h

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Born in 1933, Eikoh Hosoe is one of the biggest names in Japanese contemporary photography. Depicting the naked body without taboo, he has developed an art which is both erotic and macabre, evolving throughout his career to create a unique visual language.

Following an apprentissage at the Tokyo school of photography, Hosoe began his life-long quest for beauty through documentary photography, capturing the prostitutes of Tokyo, before moving towards more theatrical scenes. His encounter with the choreographer Butoh Tatsumi Hijikata would mark a turning point in his career. Their collaborative book Man & Woman, transcends simple eroticism. Following this, the series, Barokei – Killed by Roses, with the daring author Yukio Mishima is an erotic story, cloaked with a somber undertone and was an international success.

From 1957 to 1961, Hoseo continued to collaborate with other creators, notably founding the Vivo collective with Shomei Tomatsu, Ikko Narahara, Kikuji Kawada, Akira Sato and Akira Tanno. Their work profoundly affected the aesthetic style of Japanese photography throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

While best know for his photographs, Eikoh Hosoe is also an excellent teacher, film maker and writer. His work is part of the permanent collections at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The unique grain of his images, their contrast, the impeccable aesthetic execution, all contribute to a body of work which inspires and fascinates generation after generation.

 

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