A Legend in His Own Time
The Japanese-American photographer,
Yasuhiro Ishimoto, enjoyed a long and fruitful career as a photographer
on both sides of the Pacific.
Born to Japanese-American farmers in
San Francisco in 1921 Ishimoto spent his life between the United States
and Japan. At age three his family returned to Japan. Ishimoto was
raised in Kochi City, and followed in his parent's footsteps, graduating
from an Agricultural High School. In 1939 he returned to the United
States to study agriculture at the University of California and
continued onto Chicago where began his artistic path. Ishimoto first
studied architecture at Northwestern University, though he did not
complete this degree architecture remained an important topic in his
work and influence on his composition.
From 1942-1944 Ishimoto
was held in an internment camp alongside other Japanese Americans; it
was here he began to engage photography and learn the photographic
process. In 1946 Ishimoto flirted further with the media and joined an
amateur photographer club, Photo Dearborn. Two years later, in 1948, he
met Harry Shigeta and began to pursue the media seriously; the same year
he enrolled in the Institute of Design where he studied with Harry
Callahan, Aaron Siskind, and Gordon Coster. In his time as a student and
after Ishimoto captured the world around him. While in Chicago the city
became a favorite theme. From boldly constructed frames- the people,
the architecture, the cars to the quiet and simple- the trace and
fragment of humanity and nature Ishimoto took everything in. Though he
returned to Japan in 1961 Ishimoto gave tribute to the city he had
called home in his first publication, Chicago, Chicago, published in 1969.
continued to photograph, publish, exhibit, and teach photography with
great note and recognition in the United States, Japan, and beyond.
Significant accomplishments are many, some include: two Moholy-Nagy
Prizes; Edward Steichen selections to exhibit at MoMA; a solo shows at
the Art Institute of Chicago; a retrospective at Seibu Museum of Art in
Tokyo; a Minolta fellowship; and the title Man of Cultural Distinction by the Japanese government.
Ishimoto passed away this week, February 6, 2012.
For further information on this story please visit The Mainichi Daily News
Ishimoto's work is represented by aipad member Stephen Daiter Gallery
in Chicago. For further information on the artist and his work please
contact the Stephen Daiter Gallery