Research: Daido Moriyama

Today I watched an incredibly gripping film produced by Tate on a Japanese photographer, Daido Moriyama, after finding him on the list in our Vis-comms brief.

Moriyama tells the viewers about how the city is like an enormous body of people’s desires, buzzing with crowds and jumbled thoughts. He uses a compact camera instead of a large one, so that people are less uncomfortable when he goes out to photograph on the streets.

Daido Moriyama Tights, 1987-2011 / 2014 Gelatin silver print 39.4 x 59.1 in (100 x 150 cm) © Daido Moriyama, Courtesy of Simon Lee Gallery and Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo

Tights, 2014

I loved how he described monochromatic images in this film. He states that monochrome has elements of abstraction and symbolism, and takes you to another place, which is why he has such an instinctive response to it. The heavy ambiguity within monochromatic photographs, and the eeriness it comes with, makes it gripping. In contrast, colour is vulgar and more explicit.

In Tights, the abstraction is emphasised more with the distorted fish net shapes, as if they were magnified a bit, and it’s difficult to distinguish the lines of the legs when the lens are so close to the subject. Nonetheless, there is a clear erotic characteristic to it, as with many of his photographs, perhaps to encourage the same instinctive response as he feels towards the world, an “erotic place”.

Moriyama is admirable, in the sense that he goes out and photographs without a care in gear, age, method, thus making the images raw and pure in some ways, and he sees the world with a fresh perspective, even at 73.

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