HOSOE Eikoh (b. 1933) is considered to be an avant-garde pioneer of contemporary post-WWII Japanese photography. In his black and white photography of bodies, he has explored the possibility of his subjects’ unique physicalities as topographies that reflect interior emotions. Miyako Yoshinaga Gallery is currently showing vintage prints from two photographic series, Man and Woman (1959-1960) and Embrace (1969-1970).
I have been interested in Hosoe and his ability to establish strong connections between himself and his subjects. In Barakei, for example, Hosoe photographed writer, Mishima Yukio, in 1963. Superimposing Mishima’s image upon Western paintings, this series of works resulted in a stunning visual presentation of portraiture and photographic performance. To read more, please click here.
The exhibition arranges Hosoe's two series on adjacent walls. The series are delicate and subtle in their differences, although the contrasting ‘feel’ of the series is readily apparent. While Man and Woman feature human forms and facial features in striking arrangements, Embrace features body parts in abstract patterns. Rippling with a quiet intensity, both series show Hosoe’s interest in the human body – Mapplethorpe minus the sexual potency (perhaps better characterized as 'noise').
To read more about Man and Woman and Embrace, click here for a reprint of my brief piece in the exhibition’s catalogue.
Here is a more recent journalistic image taken by Hosoe:
Coastline of Haranomachi Minami-soma city in Fukushima, 162 days after the tsunami (August 20, 2011)
Curated Body 1959-1970 is on view at Miyako Yoshinaga Gallery until October 19, 2013.
All photography © Hosoe Eikoh