Masatoshi Naito’s Black and White Japan Comes Back to Colour


© Masatoshi Naitō

At 80 years old, the Tokyoite Masatoshi Naito embodies the alternative Japanese photography courant. Having graduated in science and engineering from the prestigious university of Waseda, Naito soon began taking photos, launching a career that would exist in the counter current for over almost half a century.

Between the 1960s and the 2000s Naito travelled the length and breadth of Japan to study its folklore and mythology. In a society where normalization is part of its strength, the photographer works to unveil parallel worlds and those who inhabit them. According to his now signature methodology Naito uses his camera like a magic instrument allowing him to see the intangible. The flash that he uses to illuminate the faces of his subjects reveals disquieting visions that appear almost supernatural.

From May 12 to July 16, the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum is showing the first ever major retrospective of the work of Masatoshi Naito’s work. This is a rare occasion to discover the sensitive world that the artist has constructed over his career, with an editorial selection that choses contour over light.

© Masatoshi Naitō