EROTICISM IN DAIDŌ MORIYAMA'S PHOTOGRAPHY

Daidō Moriyama distinguished himself in erotic nude photography, taking part in the visual and cultural movement.

By Balthazar Malevolent

EROTICISM IN DAIDŌ MORIYAMA'S PHOTOGRAPHY

He is best known for his wide-angle pictures of Tokyo, in an offensive, almost dirty, dark black and white. But Daidō Moriyama also distinguished himself in erotic nude photography, taking part in the visual and cultural movement represented by the Japanese magazine Provoke, between 1969 and 1972. Typical Japanese bondage scenes, oddly presented in nature, varying anonymous female body positions, on a bed, in a bathroom. The voyeuristic dimension fades in these natural poses and gives way to a feeling of relaxed, soothed and assumed intimacy that contrasts even more with the common Japanese tradition: a bright and anti-demonic eroticism, purged of all forms of guilt and perversion. By reinventing the erotic nude, Daidō Moriyama draws the portrait of a society in identity crisis that seeks to find its own modernity by distancing itself, on the one hand, from the shackles of its traditions, and, on the other, from the mirages of the American dream.

Daido Moriyama Hasselblad award - street photography.

Born in Ikeda, Osaka, Moriyama studied photography under Osaka-based Takeji Iwamiya before moving to Tokyo in 1961 to work for three years as an assistant to the photographer Eikoh Hosoe. He created a photographic series, Nippon gekijō shashinchō, showing the darker sides of urban life and the less-seen parts of towns. With his work, Moriyama tried to demonstrate how life in certain parts of Japan has been left behind the other developed regions. His work revolves around the themes of urban mystery, memory, and the visual medium being explored.

Moriyama often introduces his work in the form of a photobook, which he defines as open-ended pages, enabling the reader to determine the order of images they see. He has published over 150 photo-books since 1968. "Japanese Theater" (1968), "Farewell, Photography" (1972), "Daidohysteric" (1993), and "Hokkaido" (2008) are the most notable of amongst his photo books.

American designer Rick Owens once mentioned Moriyama's work as one of his main inspirations. If we draw an analogy between two artists, Rick Owens indeed is offering something completely different from other designers in a soupy sea of today's mediocre suiting and sportswear. He plays boldly with cloth and form, breaking the sexual and gender boundaries. Owens is as likely to recommend a dress for a man as for a woman, but without sacrificing manliness in favor of the novelty of the runway.

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