Moriyama montage from Phaidon's monograph
Moriyama montage from Phaidon's monograph

Daido Moriyama sizes up to William Klein at The Tate

The London gallery pairs the Tokyo street photographer with his New York counterpart in great new exhibition

Hanging the black-and-white street shots of Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama beside the better-known American snapper and film maker William Klein was always going to be something of a risk. Yet, with early reviews in for The Tate Modern show William Klein + Daido Moriyama, Moriyama sizes up well in the eyes of the critics. The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal and Time Out have all lauded the show as one of this autumn's must-see exhibits.

The Financial Times quotes Tate curator Simon Baker as saying the aim of the exhibition is to illustrate the photographers' “mutual influences, their affinities and their contrasts”. The paper also quotes Moriyama's acknowledgement of Klein as having “a huge shock, such a huge impact on me.” Many have approved of this pairing of Klein (b. New York, 1928) and Moriyama (b. Osaka, 1938), as both artists draw their subject matter from the city street, and extended their artistic practice into the production of photo books.

While liking the show, Sarah Kent of The Arts Desk argues that the juxtaposition of the higher-profile Klein with Moriyama unduly reduces the stature of the Japanese photographer. “Moriyama deserves to be seen as a law unto himself,” she writes, “rather than an acolyte of a more familiar western photographer.”

The Independent's Michael Glover, meanwhile, revels in the contrasts between the two. “Klein's vision is a rumbustious, hectic, noisy one from start to finish” he writes, while Moriayama's work investigates “the formal possibilities of photography – how the simplest object can be made anew by the play of light and dark; how quickly an object can be persuaded to dissolve into abstraction.” Do try to catch it if you can. The exhibition runs until 20 January 2013. And if you like the images, take a look at our attractively priced Moriyama book.