Current Feature: Daido Moriyama
By John Hutt
If you take photographs seriously, that’s the end of the story. Moriyama’s public career began in the magazine PROVOKE vol 2., in which he shot a couple having sex in a love hotel. This caused outrage and excitement in photography circles, and propelled Moriyama into the world of fine art. His theoretical grounding and backwards evolution into non-photographer-photographer began there. The first work was against convention, against taste, and against fine art and yet it was lauded as fine art and celebrated in photography circles. So Moriyama kept pushing.
Moriyama began his work as a photographer shooting scenes in his native Shinjyuku region of Tokyo, a region that he loves and where he refined his point and shoot, voyeuristic street photography into a school of his own. Bure (shake) Boke (no focus) style has been widely imitated and widely criticized. Bure Boke was Moriyama’s way of going against the accepted style, the entire reason for its existence was in opposition to the normal way of doing things. The results of this were so interesting that the opposition became his independent expression. Bure Boke was Moriyama’s attempt at destroying photography. The photo book Hunter (1972) is seen as the finest example of this Shake-No Focus style. Hunter was the beginning of Moriyama’s deconstruction of the photographic process that reached its peak in the book Bye, Bye Photography (1972) (Shashin yo Sayonara). Moriyama’s central argument during this period was that photographs, even those that are not planned or executed well, still constitute photography. Photos are not only the images you consciously take. All photographs are equally valid and should be considered photography, and if everything is photography, then nothing is photography. To go to the limits of the medium, Moriyama would have to destroy it.
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