Japanese photographer Shomei Tomatsu

Photographer Shomei Tomatsu, widely considered to be the ‘godfather’ of modern Japanese photography has very sadly died aged 82.

Tomatsu was one of the most influential photographers to emerge during Japan’s post-war era, becoming obsessed with America’s military occupation, and recording the inevitable spread of American popular culture and how this changed the nation. Two of his series of photographs Protest, Tokyo, 1969 and Eros, Tokyo, 1969 recorded the frequently turbulent youth cultural changes of that time.

I was especially shocked at this news, as last Thursday I returned to his work for a second time at the Barbican’s major group photography exhibition Everything Was Moving. Shown here are some of his most important images, including devastatingly poignant visual relics recording the devastation of Nagasaki, such as a study of a wristwatch whose hands are frozen at 11.11.02am on 9 August 1945, the moment the A-bomb exploded, and his most famous image, Melted Bottle. Just a few more days to see the exhibition, before it closes on 13th January.

Tomatsu’s life and work can be explored further online via interactive Skin of the Nation, created for his 2006 retrospective at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *