Daido Moriyama is an amazing photographer who has recently had an exhibition of his works from over the years (he is an old man now) along side the world renown William Klien. I was lucky enough to make it to said exhibition super excited to see the work of Klien up close and personal. After walking though the Klien section in awe of his work I the proceeded into the Daido Moriyama section. At this point in time I had no idea at all who Daido Moriyama was and boy had I been missing out. I’m going to post a few images here so keep reading further down.
Now, if you haven’t heard of this man before, then you probably had the same reaction as I did; “holy **** why have I never heard of this man before!”. The stunning high contrast photographs that still retain those mid-tone elements just shocked me. His use of composition and repetition and creative light and selective crop and… I could just go on! I have chosen each image to show of why I think this man should be revered and taught as part of any photography/art class.
Lets start with his use of light. I don’t mean the way he uses lights in a studio, I mean the way he adapts the situation to take the best photo with what he has. The subject in the image has been masked with sunlight dotted across her face due to the shadows cast by her hat. There is a band of shade cutting the image and subject in half right across her nose dividing the face. It’s almost as though her identity has been covered and she’s hidden from the viewer making you intrigued as to who she is. Daido Moriyama was most definitely a lucky man to bump into this woman wearing that hat in such good light, but this photo wouldn’t of happened by chance, he would have taken 5 or 6 different photos of this woman arranging the hat and at different exposures to get the perfect image. He has composed his subject very close to the image as so to block out most of the background only leaving glimpses of whats behind, this is reflected in the woman by the way both subject and background you can tell who/what it is, but in no great detail as so to leave the viewer intrigued.
Composition. Composition comprises of many different things. This image follows the rule of thirds which is if you divide the image both horizontally and vertically into thirds then the interesting things should be on the intersecting points of the third lines. In this image you have the three boys each standing on a vertical third line, the boy in the foreground his face lines up on the bottom third corner and the row of heads with the wall behind run along the top horizontal third line. Then there’s the repetition, the boys faces are repeated falling further into the background guiding your eyes in a zigzag from foreground to background.
Subject (or lack of). I have chosen this because it is such a powerful image without giving away any sort of personal detail to identify the image. You could look at this as a pattern and not someones legs and it would still have that same immediate impact. The fact that it is a pair of legs in stockings only adds to the image. When I look at this I straight away I assume it’s a lady legs without any evidence to back it up, the subject in the image is so anonymous yet we all have our own ideas as to who this person is.
I could go into further detail on why I adore Daido Moriyama’s work, but I find it hard to put into words. It just has a grasp on me. Anyway, hopefully I have explained my self well and you can understand why I like his work so much.