Daidō Moriyama was born in Ikeda, Osaka, in 1938; his twin brother died at the age of two, and his childhood was spent in the town of Urawa outside
Tokyo. After studying graphic design, he studied photography under Takeji Iwamiya before moving to Tokyo in 1961 to work as an assistant to Eikoh Hosoe his famous series Ordeal by Roses. Moriyama began to work independently in 1964; his work focused on the darker sides of urban life and the seldom seen parts of the cities, attempting to show how life in some areas are left behind other, more industrialized places. The photographs are often described as raw and troubled ( in
Japanese, the “are, bure, boke” aesthetics), and they gave birth to a new street
photography practice in Japan where the artist roams the street, confronting public spaces.
” The crushing force of time is before my eyes, and I myself try to
keep pressing the shutter release of the camera. In this inevitable race
between the two of us, I feel I am going to be burnt up.”
Moriyama started manipulating silkscreen printing in the
seventies, using the technique for his books as well as his exhibition
pieces. He also organized interactive events and
installations as a way to adapt his discourse to different spaces and
Predominantly taking high contrast, grainy, black and white photographs within the Shinjuku area of Tokyo, Moriyama often shoots from odd angles. He cites Kerouac’s On the Road as one of his greatest influences, also drawing inspiration from Atget and Weegee as well as William
Klein and Warhol.
Comparing himself to a machine gun, Moriyama fires off
his camera in rapid bursts of instinctive shooting. Since 1968 his output has been is legendary; he has produced over 150
books of photographs and has had over 100 solo exhibitions.
Daido Moriyama’s work has had a radical impact on the artistic communities both in Japan and abroad. In the
U.S., he was a central figure in MoMA’s groundbreaking 1974 New Japanese Photography, and in 1999 SFMoMA organized and exhibited the retrospective Daido Moriyama: Stray Dog, which was also shown at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Japan Society in New York.