Born in 1938 and brought up for a short while in Osaka, Japan, Daido Moriyama spent much of his childhood on the move, due to his father's profession as a travelling insurance salesman.
Moriyama studied graphic design and, in the 1960s, moved to Tokyo to work with the VIVO group of photographers, which included Eikoh Hosoe and Shomei Tomatsu. Accompanied by a surge in Japanese economic growth and mass culture, Moriyama was published in several magazines and journals, earning him the accolade of Most Promising Photographer by the Japan Photography Critics Association.
Moriyama was a member of PROVOKE Magazine at the time of international youth movements and unrest in 1968. The magazine, and Moriyama's photography, sought to assert an independence over the classically held notion of photography as purely a visual sign. He was aware that the camera can not offer a complete record and it is in this very partialness that the real excitement and enigma in his work arises.
Exploring themes of self-expression, the disfiguration of urban landscapes, eroticism and fading Japanese traditions, Moriyama remarked that one of photography's essential qualities is its amateurism, and another its anonymity. These have numbered among his preoccupations from the beginning and most of Moriyama's images follow a snapshot aesthetic, often taken while running or from a moving car, without the use of a viewfinder.
This monograph on Moriyama follows a chronological order, identifying major themes and examining key works; a beautifully produced, affordable introduction to one of the most influential figures in photography today.
Kazuo Nishii is a film and photography critic. He was Editor-in-Chief of the Japanese photography magazine Camera Mainichi from 1983 to 1985, and has written several books, including Why Still 'Provoke' Now? (1996)