Daido Moriyama and Shomei Tomatsu's Tokyo
A landmark exhibition at The European House of Photography, Moriyama ‒ Tomatsu: Tokyo, brings together two of the undisputed masters of post-war Japanese photography. Conceived by the two men together before the death of Tomatsu in 2012, it is the realization of a dream for Moriyama, who has said of his friend and mentor, “For me, as a photographer, without a doubt, everything began with Tomatsu.”
Shomei Tomatsu was already a recognized photographer when, in 1961, Daido Moriyama came to Tokyo to meet him. Eight years Tomatsu’s junior, Moriyama was a great admirer of the older man’s work, which was often featured in the best photographic magazines. The VIVO agency, which Tomatsu helped to set up, and which Moriyama hoped to join, had just disbanded, but nonetheless, the two men established a relationship that was to last for over 50 years. But although Moriyama was fascinated by Tomatsu’s personality and aura, he gradually distinguished himself from the style associated with the VIVO group, becoming, in turn, one of Japan’s most original and radical post-war photographers.
Thanks to a close collaboration between Daido Moriyama, Akio Nagasawa, and Madame Yasuko Tomatsu, Shomei Tomatsu’s widow, this exhibition is based on the artists’ initial selection, which has subsequently been enriched and adapted to present a broad panorama of the two photographers’ work, comparing their shared obsession with the Japanese capital.