Chicago, Halloween (1959-61)
©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center
Chicago, Town (1959-61)
©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center
Chicago, Town (around 1960)
©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center
Chicago, Snow and Car (around 1950)
©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Tokyo, Yamanote-Line 29, 1981-85 ©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Tokyo, Yamanote-Line, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Collection Exhibition

Having been based in Tokyo since returning from Chicago in 1953, Ishimoto Yasuhiro continued to capture faces of society from within the neighborhood he was living in. In order to document the dramatic transformations of the mega city “Tokyo” on its way into the economic bubble of the 1980s, Ishimoto focused on the areas around the 29 stations of the Yamanote Line, for which he chose 8×10 inch large format film for its high resolution and plasticity. The resulting pictures

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Gojinjo-daiko (Wajima) (ca. 1963) ©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 18

Japanese Festivals Once the Yosakoi Festival that annually adds some color to the summer in Kochi is over, so is the peak of the summer heat, and the city slows down to its laid-back daily routine. Initially launched with the aim to enliven the local shopping district, the festival is held for the 53rd time this year (2006). In addition to the obvious religious festivals dedicated to the gods and ancestors, there are quite a few Japanese festivals with community-building

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Tokyo, Town (1953) ©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 17

Individual Realism “This is in front of Wako in Ginza. Just when I was about to shoot the vagrant kind of man in the back, a soldier of the Allied Occupation forces and a prostitute passed by, so I released the shutter in that moment. It was in the winter, at 4 or 5 in the afternoon I think.” 50 years ago, there was no sign of the pomp and glory that the Ginza district is known for today. Many

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Hinomaru (1963) ©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 16

Hinomaru Sceneries With European teams including that of host country Germany advancing to the semifinals, the soccer world cup is exciting enthusiasm around the world. I watched one of the “Zico Japan” team’s matches on TV, earnestly from players taking to the field to the end, but they unfortunately dropped out at the group stage. When the national anthems were played prior to the match, I was fairly surprised to hear “Kimigayo” (Japanese national anthem) reverberate across the stadium, as

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Tokyo, Town (1963-70) ©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 15

“The Course of Nature” and “Thorough Pursuit” After returning to Japan from his second stay in Chicago, Ishimoto began to teach at the Tokyo College of Photography and Tokyo Zokei University among others, while continuing to roam his everyday life environments in the Tokyo and Fujisawa areas, and observe people’s daily activities, just like he used to do back in Chicago. Even without particularly dramatic happenings, there are minute shifts that instantly occur in the otherwise largely static everyday, and

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Color and Form (1995) ©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 14

Color and Form Overlapping The multi-exposure work of Color and Form that this part is about has been gracing the cover of the Takenaka Corporation’s in-house magazine Approach for a long time. By capturing the beautiful silhouettes of trees, superimposing architectural structures and other manmade elements, and occasionally adding shots of sketchbooks with painted pictures, Ishimoto has created a set of playful photographs. Preferring the tight air in the winter, he mainly did such multi-exposure work in that time of year.

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Mandala (1973) ©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 13

The Eros of Abstinence The “Mandalas of the Two Worlds” is a set of two mandalas – the “Taizokai (Womb World) Mandala” and the “Kongokai (Diamond World) Mandala” – that are kept at the Kyoo Gokoku-ji (To-ji) temple in Kyoto. Each of the two mandalas measures about 180 x 150 cm. Depicted on canvases the size of a grown-up man with his arms stretched out is the world of Dainichi Nyorai (Vairocana), the personification of absolute existence in esoteric Buddhism,

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Katsura (1981-82)  ©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 12

The Beautiful Simplicity of the Katsura Imperial Villa The stage this time is Japan. One of Ishimoto’s most representative set of works is the Katsura series of photographs of the Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto. The airy rhythms that shoji screens and tatami mats create in the soft light; the multiple straight lines of the roofs’ edges; the modernist style expressed through lines and surfaces; the delicate arrangement of steppingstones… Encountering this set of photographs that highlight the appeal of

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Chicago, Town (around 1960)  ©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Transient, Fleeting: The World of Ishimoto Yasuhiro part 11

The Final Years in Chicago “Half a year after returning to America, Shigeru (Ishimoto’s wife) found employment at S.H. Mori’s gallery selling works of Japanese arts and crafts, while I started working as a photographer. With the Minolta SR1 over my shoulder, and usually about ten rolls of film in my pockets, I was crisscrossing the city of Chicago from one end to the other.” (Asahi Camera, 1962) During the second period of Ishimoto’s stay in Chicago between 1959 and

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Chicago Beach, 1948-52
(c)Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center

Beach, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Collection Exhibition

Ishimoto Yasuhiro is a Kochi native photographer who has gained a worldwide reputation for creating works charged with exquisite formative sensibility and beautiful harmonies of black and white. After learning the basics of photography at the Institute of Design that was adopting the Bauhaus style in post-war Chicago, Ishimoto returned and settled down in Japan, but continued to photograph beach sceneries in both Japan and America. On display here is one representative series of works showing scenes of people gathering

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