Daido Moriyama

Daido Moriyama. Stray Dog, Misawa. 1971

Daido Moriyama. Stray Dog, Misawa. 1971

I've been obsessed with photography lately, my YouTube feed is sprinkled with shooting tips for beginners and interviews with famous photographers.

One photographer I discovered recently is Daido Moriyama, a japanese photographer best known for his black-and-white street photography. His most well-known photo is the stray dog.

In the video Japanese Style Photography, the art of Moriyama Daido, his photos are described as trips through faded memories and is infused with the wabi-sabi philosophy.

Western-style photographers like Ansel Adams and Henri Cartier-Bresson; they look for perfection, composition, style. For Daido, he accept the images as they come into his camera.

His shooting technique according to Wiki:

Moriyama tends to capture images without looking through the viewfinder, so as to separate himself from the detached, scientific, and deliberate cropping produced by the viewfinder lens. He often takes a large volume of photographs of the world as it passes by him, embracing the uncertainty and indeterminacy of encountering the scenes as they reveal themselves during the development process

I also watched Artist Daido Moriyama – In Pictures by Tate.

Below are some of my favorite quotes from the video.

on childhood

I moved a lot as a child. I'm creating my own home by connecting pieces of images from my imagination and things I saw as a child. That's how I feel about my work.

on shooting

Cities are enormous bodies of people's desire, and as I search for my own desires within them, I slice into time, seeing the moment. That's the kind of camera work I like.

I walk very fast. I like taking snapshots in the movement of both myself and the outside world. When I walk around I probably look like a street dog because after walking around the main roads, I keep wandering around the back streets.

on black-and-white

monochrome has stronger elements of abstraction and symbolism. There is perhaps and element of taking you to another place. Black and white has that physical effect on me, thats just the way I respond to things. Color is something more vulgar, because color is making the decisions

on photography

the most important thing that a photographer can do is relate both the photographer and the viewer's memories

at first sight a photograph looks straightforward as it slices off a scene or a moment in time. But the images that photography captures are actually ambiguous. And it's because of this ambiguity that I like photography.

on age and desire

I often hear it said that people, even photographers, do their best work when they are in their 20s and 30s, I'm 73 now, but I could never see the city with an old man's eyes or as if I understood everything. Everyone has desires. The quality and volume of those desires changes with age, but that desire is alway serious and real. Photography is an expression of those desires. So that way of thinking or speaking is nonsense to me. Completely meaningless.

In an interview with SF MOMA, he talks about the essence of photography.

To him, photography is about copying.

What is photography? How do I see the outside world? I think the essence of photography is the concept of copying or duplication. Andy Warhol copied photographs of various scenes and produced his works from them. And then he made copies of those works. I think he held that concept within him. And that concept is really close to what I think the essence of photography is.

In other words, I don’t see the act of taking photographs as an artistic act of creating "art pieces." I’ve always thought of it as making copies. So I totally related to what Warhol was doing. Photographing the city, cars, people, TV screens, posters, film screens... I consider them all the same. So I wasn’t really interested in shooting the TV screen; it was just one subject in my point of view

Photography is taking pictures of common manners and customs. When I shoot, I’m driven by my interests, my physical reactions, my memories, and all kinds of other elements. It’s the people who observe my work that give it any kind of meaning. I just continue to offer them what I’ve captured with my mind and body.

I want to look at everything and capture everything. Of course, in reality, that’s impossible, but that’s my intention. And I don’t walk around with a certain concept, choosing what to shoot and what not to. I don’t think.