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Daido Moriayama

The Provocative World of Daido Moriyama:
Blurring Lines Between Reality and Art

Daido Moriyama

Details
b. 1938

Daido Moriyama, a towering figure in the landscape of contemporary photography, has fundamentally redefined the medium with his visceral, gritty images that capture the flux of urban life and the essence of post-war Japan.

Moriyama’s work is a journey into the heart of reality, where the line between the mundane and the profound is blurred, offering a stark reflection on society’s rapid transformation and the clash between traditional Japanese culture and Western influences. His photographic style is instantly recognizable: high contrast, grainy black and white images, often out of focus or deliberately blurry, capturing snapshots and fragments of life with an intensity that pierces the veneer of the everyday. This style, inspired by American artists like Andy Warhol and William Klein, as well as the literary work of Jack Kerouac, reflects a bold departure from the conventions of photography, embracing instead an approach that is raw, radical, and real.

Moriyama's engagement with the medium is not just about the act of capturing images but about probing deeper philosophical questions concerning the nature of photography itself and its capacity to convey genuine reality.

Moriyama’s early work, showcased in seminal publications and his involvement with the avant-garde magazine Provoke, challenged traditional photographic norms and sought to explore photography's role beyond a communicative or conceptual tool. Instead, he focused on the materiality of the image and its potential to provoke the world of language and ideas.

His series "Accident" and the photobook "Farewell Photography" are prime examples of this exploration, where Moriyama pushes the boundaries of photographic reality, engaging with the medium in a way that is both critical and deeply introspective.

Moriyama’s self-proclaimed addiction to urban life is evident in his body of work, particularly in his nuanced depiction of Tokyo. He views the city as a complex stage where comedy, tragedy, eulogy, and eroticism intertwine, making it the ideal setting for his photographic explorations. The city, with its hypnotic chaos and interwoven desires, remains his natural element, a constant source of inspiration. This fascination is not just with the architecture or the streets but with the very essence of urban existence – its inhabitants, their desires, and their struggles. "The city has everything: comedy, tragedy, eulogy, eroticism,” he remarks, capturing the melancholic beauty of everyday life in its most ordinary and yet profoundly unique manifestations.

His work, from the raw and gritty snapshots of Tokyo’s streets to the tender yet stark depiction of its denizens, showcases a harsh, though affectionate, vision of city life. Moriyama’s photographs are a deep dive into the bizarre underworld of Japanese street life, mixing a sense of the theatrical with the erotic. Even in his later years, Moriyama’s inclination to record his surroundings remains undiminished, with his camera always ready to capture the fleeting moments that epitomize the pulsating life of the city. His photographs, characterized by their high contrast, grainy texture, and often blurred imagery, challenge conventional notions of photography, inviting viewers to experience the urban landscape through his unique lens.

Daido Moriyama's impact on street photography and the wider art world cannot be overstated. His work, traversing the boundaries between the personal and the universal, the ephemeral and the eternal, invites a reconsideration of photography's role in articulating the complexities of contemporary life.

His ongoing publication, Record magazine, serves as a personal diary, offering an intimate glimpse into his life and explorations in cities, thereby highlighting the inseparable link between the photographer's vision and the medium's expressive possibilities.
Daido Moriyama's work invites us to reconsider our relationship with photography, urging us to see beyond the surface and engage with the deeper, often unsettling realities of our world.

Through his lens, we are encouraged to embrace the imperfect, the transient, and the enigmatic aspects of life, challenging our perceptions and understanding of what photography can be.

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    Paper Size 52,3 x 76,2 cm/20,6 x 30″  Edition of 20 +4 AP
    Printed on Hahnemühle FineArt Pearl 285 gsm, museum quality FineArt inkjet paper.

    $3,385 Collect
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    Paper Size 52,3 x 76,2 cm/20,6 x 30″  Edition of 20 +4 AP
    Printed on Hahnemühle FineArt Pearl 285 gsm, museum quality FineArt inkjet paper.

    Starting at $2,375 Collect
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    Paper Size 40 x 50 cm/15,7 x 19,7″ Edition of 75

    Printed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag® , 315 gsm museum quality FineArt inkjet paper.

    Starting at $495 Collect
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    $45

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    Paper Size 40 x 50 cm/15,7 x 19,7″ Edition of 75

    Printed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag® , 315 gsm museum quality FineArt inkjet paper.

    Starting at $495 Collect
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    Paper Size 40 x 50 cm/15,7 x 19,7″ Edition of 75
    Printed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag® , 315 gsm museum quality FineArt inkjet paper.

    Starting at $495 Collect
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    Starting at $430 Collect
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    Paper Size 40 x 50 cm/15,7 x 19,7″ Edition of 75
    Printed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag®, 315 gsm museum quality FineArt inkjet paper.

    Starting at $495 Collect
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    Starting at $1,850 Collect
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    Starting at $235 Collect
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    Paper Size 40 x 50 cm/15,7 x 19,7″ Edition of 75
    Printed on Hahnemühle Photo Rag®, 315 gsm museum quality FineArt inkjet paper.

    Starting at $495 Collect
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    Paper Size 42 x 59,4 cm/16,53″ x 23,38″ Edition of 6 +2 AP

    Starting at $495 Collect
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    Starting at $235 Collect
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    Limited Edition Archival Pigment Print including a Certificate of Authenticity Signed and Numbered by the Artist.
    Paper Size 35 x 50 cm/13,8 x 19,7″ Edition of 75
    Printed on Hahnemuhle Matte Fine Art Museum Etching 350 gsm.

    Starting at $495 Collect
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    Starting at $235 Collect
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    Starting at $1,550 Collect