Hiro was a Japanese-American commercial photographer renowned for his fashion and still life photography for leading magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue and Rolling Stones.
Hiro arrived in New York in 1954 where his career began as Richard Avedon’s apprentice. Recognising Hiro’s talent, Avedon soon sent him to Harper’s Bazaar legendary art director Alexey Brodovitch. Within a few years Hiro had risen to extraordinary heights in the industry. He worked under Brodovitch’s direction from 1956 and in 1963 became the only photographer under contract at Harper’s Bazaar, a position he would keep for the next ten years. Although no longer under contract, Hiro continues to take assignments for the magazine.
Hiro loved exploring the possibility of the extraordinary, embedding his images with surprises, abnormalities and Surrealism. To look at a photograph by Hiro is to come face-to-face with a picture rife with unusual lighting effects, surprising angles, juxtaposing elements and bold colours. Richard Avedon described Hiro as a “visitor all his life”, meaning that Hiro, neither completely Eastern or Western, could document both cultures in his work with a perception that only comes from a certain detachment.
Hiro’s work is published in three monographs and is held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, George Eastman House in New York, The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Musée Européenne de la Photographie in Paris, the J. Paul Getty Museum in LA, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and the Kobe Fashion Museum in Japan amongst others.
“Hiro is no ordinary man. He is one of the few artists in the history of photography. He is able to bring his fear, his isolation, his darkness, his splendid light to film.” – Richard Avedon.