Yasuhiro Ishimoto - Essay Example

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Yasuhiro Ishimoto was a Japanese American born in June 1921. A former student at the Northwestern University in Chicago, Ishimoto studied Architecture but never managed to complete his course. His interest in photography when he was at the Amache Internment Camp between 1942 and 1944. …
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Yasuhiro Ishimoto Yasuhiro Ishimoto was a Japanese American born in June 1921. A former at the Northwestern in Chicago, Ishimotostudied Architecture but never managed to complete his course. His interest in photography when he was at the Amache Internment Camp between 1942 and 19441. He enrolled in the Fort Dearborn Camera Club, a club dedicated to nurturing the talent of amateur photographers and film makers2. He earned several awards in photography during his time at the club, a feat that greatly influenced his future.
Ishimoto returned to his home country, Japan, in 1961 although his devotion to Chicago never faded until his death. This devotion is expressed in his book Chicago – a book perceived as his most personal statement3. The book boldly makes use of contrast and brings into focus the influence of his architectural knowledge in defining Chicago. Ever since he left the Fort Dearborn Camera Club, Ishimoto has participated in several exhibitions and published several books.
Ishimoto’s works are influenced by the photography of his contemporaries including Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind4. He adopted the philosophy of seeing while moving from his place of training. His photographs mainly focus on shifting spaces and people and mainly featured Tokyo. His work Tokyo: Yasuhiro Ishimoto is a compilation of photographs of the urban landscape of Tokyo between the 70s and the 80s5. Ishimoto took black and white photographs mainly but did not hesitate to experiment with multiple-exposure color abstractions. His contemporary series show the urban textures, and flows, not to mention composite shapes that characterize the metropolitan area. In his works, Ishimoto gave a lot of attention to the way he used light, texture, and form.
One of the notable works by Ishimoto is his collection of photographs of the photographs of Katsura Imperial Villa, taken in 19536. The villa that stands on the banks of River Katsura was constructed in the 16th century. Originally the summer home of Prince Toshihito Hachijo, the villa is today a notable example of traditional Japanese architecture. The villa is surrounded by a garden and features an ornamental pond. This collection of the villa formed part of the compilation Katsura: Tradition and Creation in Japanese Architecture7. In the collection, Ishimoto focuses mainly on the plans, lines and geometry of the villa. He deliberately avoids the structures ornamentation and curves. In 1982, Ishimoto went back to photograph the villa, this time having it in mind to be guided by a different set of aesthetic principles. He took colored photographs of the villa and was inspired by the juxtaposition of ornamentation and austerity. He also explored colored and shapes that make up the villa in detail.
In total, Ishimoto has a collection of five photo books. The photobooks reveal Ishimoto as a talented and multi-tiered photographer. The photo book Someday, Somewhere / Aru Hi, Aru Tokoro published in 1958 contains black and white images as well as color offset ones that depict post war Japan8. The images in the photobook reveal the usage of graffiti, signage, and abstractions in a modern way.
CCA. Tokyo: Yasuhiro Ishimoto. 2012
Stephen Daiter Gallery. Yasuhiro Ishimoto. 2014.
Bijutsu Shuppan-sha, 1969. Tokyo: Bijutsu Shuppan-sha. 1969.
CCA. Yasuhiro Ishimoto: photographs of Katsura Imperial Villa. 2012.
Russet Lederman. Yasuhiro Ishimoto (1921-2012): The “ Visual Bilinguist” in Japanese and American Postwar Photography. 2012. Read More
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