Eikoh Hosoe is the third Japanese photographer I’ve posted up in recent months and the more I find out, the more I am drawn in, as if into a world that is unfamiliar, thrilling and exotic. Hosoe is one of Japan’s most acclaimed experimental photographers who has spent a lifetime collaborating with artists, writers and dancers to create an oeuvre that is filled with psychologically charged images – that explore subjects such as death, erotic obsession and irrationality – that have a surreal quality that is both intimate, abstract and strange.
Hosoe began his artistic career over 50 years ago as a documentary style photographer in post war Japan but soon abandoned it to produce pictures that freed themselves from the conventions of the medium by combining different artforms such as theatre, Butoh dance, film and traditional Japanese art with photography. The collaborative nature of his work has led to him to create world renowned pictures such as his abstract nude photographs and his ongoing projects with Tatsumi Hijikata, one of the founders of Butoh dance. This bringing together of modern technology and traditional Japanese artforms has given us pictures that are both remarkable in their clarity, artistic in their vision and has led Hosoe to see photography in philosophical terms:
To me photography can be simultaneously both a record and a mirror or window of self-expression…The camera is generally assumed to be unable to depict that which is not visible to the eye and yet, the photographer who wields it well can depict what lies unseen in his memory.
When looking through his many pictures I quickly realised that picking a selection was next to impossible so I suggest you go looking, be amazed, awestruck and if you’re a photographer take as much as you can from one of photography’s modern masters.