Japanese photographer Masao Yamamoto explores the emotional power of photography, creating small-scale silver gelatin prints that highlight the relationship between photography and memory. He works with a range of subject matter, from the nude female body to the landscapes and natural wildlife that he encounters in the Japanese countryside.
His early series, A Box of Ku and Nakazora are comprised of palm-sized photographs that the artist has subjected to a process of artificial aging, creasing or staining them, so that each one is imbued with a timeless quality. Described as “visual haikus,” these photographs reveal the beauty that is found in the often-overlooked elements of daily life - a flock of birds in the sky, or a chipped ceramic bowl. These series are displayed unframed, in loosely scattered groupings where the spaces in between the prints are as important as the prints themselves. The object-status of each photograph is further highlighted by the fact that many of them are intended to be handled, so that an intimate viewing experience is encouraged, mirroring the intimate nature of many of the moments Yamamoto has captured.
In his more recent series, Kawa=Flow, Yamamoto attempts to visualize the rupture between the past, present, and future existence of humanity using similar subject matter to the earlier series. Here, however, he has employed a slightly larger scale, presenting the work as single, framed prints. As with his earlier work, Yamamoto continues to be anchored by a close relationship with his surrounding environment.
Born in Gamagori-City, Japan, in 1957, Yamamoto is based in Yamanashi, Japan. His work has been exhibited in numerous international institutions including High Museum of Art, Atlanta; George Eastman House, Rochester; Carrousel du Louvre, Paris; Galerie de Moderne, Munich; and Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego. Yamamoto’s photographs are included in the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the International Center of Photography, New York; and the Sir Elton John Collection, among others. His monographs include Tori, Radius Books, 2016; Fujsan, Nazraeli press, 2008; é Nazraeli Press, 2005; Omizuao Nazraeil Press, 2003; Nakazora Nazraeli Press, 2001; and A Box of Ku Nazraeli Press, 1998.