Osamu James Nakagawa was born in New York City in 1962 and raised in Tokyo. He returned to the United States, moving to Houston, Texas, at the age of 15. He received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of St. Thomas Houston in 1986 and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Houston in 1993. Currently, he is the Ruth N. Halls Distinguished Professor of Photography at Indiana University, where he directs the Center for Integrative Photographic Studies. He lives and works in Bloomington, Indiana.
He is a recipient of the 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship, the 2010 Higashikawa New Photographer of the Year, and 2015 Sagamihara Photographer of the Year in Japan.
His work has been exhibited internationally, solo exhibitions include Eclipse, PGI, Tokyo (2018); GAMA Caves, P.G.I., Tokyo (2014); TRILOGY, Kyoto University of Art and Design (2013); Banta: Stained Memory, Sakima Art Museum, Okinawa (2009); Course: Banta, SEPIA International Inc., New York (2008); Ma-between the past, McMurtrey Gallery, Houston, Texas (2003).
Selected group shows include – Photography to End All Photography, Brandts Museum, Denmark (2018); A Shared Elegy: Emmet Gowin, Elijah Gowin, Takayuki Ogawa, James Nakagawa, Grunwald Gallery of Art, Indiana University (2017); Infinite Pulse: Photography in Time, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2016); The Photograph: What You See & What You Don’t #02, Tokyo University of the Arts (2015); War/Photography: Photographs of Armed Conflict and its Aftermath, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2012); After Photoshop: Manipulated Photography in the Digital Age, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (2012); Common Ground, Corcoran Museum of Fine Arts, Washington D.C. (2004); Tokyo International Photo-Biennale, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (1995)
His photographs are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, George Eastman House, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Sakima Art Museum, Okinawa, The Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and others.