©Kochi Prefecture, Ishimoto Yasuhiro Photo Center
Ishimoto is well known photographer worldwide. His career as a photographer spans five decades, and he produced masterpieces of “Chicago”, “Tokyo”, as well as “Katsura Villa”, “Mandala”, and “Ise Shrine”. In particular, photographs of the beach of Lake Michigan in his hometown, Chicago, clearly shows Ishimoto’s keen sense of “design” and “space”.
Ishimoto photographed Chicago at three periods: school years at the Institute of Design 1948-51, three-year stay with his wife 1958-61, and short stay in 1982. “Whenever staying in Chicago, I always went by the beach not only with a 35mm camera, but also a 6×6 medium format camera and a 4×5-inch camera,” says Ishimoto. He produced masterpieces of people relaxed on the beach as well as legs of people in swimming ware from behind.
The 14 reed-shaped leg pictures designed by Ishimoto himself appeared double-page spread in the “U.S. Camera” 1954 issue titled as “Summer Spectacle.” Ishimoto photographed these pictures originally with a 6×6 medium format camera and he cropped all pictures reed-shaped along with the idea of showing photographs. The idea came to him first, and he photographed. It is possible to see the lucid layout and ability to show images as the origin of Ishimoto’s way of photography in graphic manner. Ishimoto came to think little by little that, “Pictures of legs not cropped also seems nice.” Those square-shaped photographs became well known series “North Avenue Beach.”
Around 50 photographs of the beach including “North Avenue Beach” are shown. Many photographs are shown to the public for the first time. Through the exhibition, we not only rediscover Ishimoto’s “Chicago”, but also feel the origin of Ishimoto’s way of photography.
Born in San Francisco, 1921. Moved to Kochi Prefecture in Japan with his parents, 1924, stayed there till graduating from high school. Studied photography at the Institute of Design, Chicago (known as New Bauhaus, later merged with the Illinois Institute of Technology). Graduated from the Illinois Institute of Technology, 1952. Obtained Japanese citizenship, 1969. Received the Person of Cultural Merit Award, 1996.
Selected One-person exhibition: “Yasuhiro Ishimoto: Remembrance of Things Present”, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (1996), “Yasuhiro Ishimoto: Chicago and Tokyo”, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (1998), “Yasuhiro Ishimoto: A Tale of Two Cities”, The Art Institute of Chicago (1999), “Yasuhiro Ishimoto: Photographs 1946-2001”, The Museum of Art, Kochi (2001), and many others.