Daido Moriyama was born in 1938 in Osaka, where he studied photography before moving to Tokyo in 1961. There, having worked as an assistant to photographer and filmmaker Eikoh Hosoe, Moriyama began to produce his own collection of photographs depicting the forgotten areas and darker sides of his home. Shortly afterwards, he was awarded the New Artist Award from the Japan Photo-Critics Association; the first of many lifetime awards.
His early work captures life during and following the American occupation of Japan after World War II; in particular the effects of industrialisation and the consequential shift in urban life in which some areas were left behind the rapidly changing city.
Many of his early photographs were influenced by the ‘Provoke’ group which published three magazines illustrated almost entirely with photography. Moriyama joined the movement for the second issue of the magazine which, in addition to its political aims, came to solidify a type of Japanese aesthetic for ‘grainy, blurry and out of focus’ images, embracing a tradition of experimental image making and rebellion against the technical precision promoted by the culture of the time.
Moriyama’s work is predominantly black and white, and whilst the grainy aesthetic very much reflects his feelings about the destabilization of social structures after the war, his work is primarily about the use of photography as experiment. His pictures hover between the realm of document and possibility, between fact and fiction.
Now in his 80’s, Moriyama’s oeuvre includes colour pictures, Polaroids, films, installations and most rare and importantly, silkscreens. Whilst Moriyama was influenced by a variety of artists, Andy Warhol may be the most important of these. He first saw Warhol’s silkscreens in 1969 on a visit to New York and perceived in them the essence of duplication, repetition and mass production essential to photography. Since then, Moriyama has made large scale, limited edition silkscreens with singular images and more often with repeated or combined imagery.
Moriyama has global recognition, with a record of solo and group exhibitions worldwide, including a joint retrospective with William Klein at Tate Modern, 2012. He has published a variety of photobooks and photo-essays and his work is held in multiple collections, both public and private.