Ikko Narahara is one of Japan’s foremost postwar photographers whose poetic pictures captured the sense of a country in flux, change and upheaval and who co-founded one of the Worlds most influential photo agencies, VIVO – along with Shomei Tomatsu, Eikoh Hosoe, Kikuji Kawada and others – that was to be a huge influence on the next generation of Japanese photographers.
Narahara is most famous for his photographs of people in isolation, in confined spaces, such as monks in monasteries and women in prison as well as his expansive pictures of the American west. With everything in extremis and shot in black and white with a wide angle lens his work aimed at creating a ‘personal document’, a process of laying bare the inner form by thoroughly depicting the exterior.
Time plays a central role in all of Narahara’s work, his photographs straddling the line between description and abstraction, objectivity and subjectivity, a personal narrative, everything coming to a stop in a poetic space that allows us to contemplate the mythic.
Narahara is neither political nor social rather he is a poet of film, a maker of images that seek to transcend the ordinary in order to reveal the inner spirit of life that is at once serene, surreal and absurd.