An unsurpassed master of postwar Japanese realist photography and a reference for amateur photographers even today.
The breadth and diversity of this Renaissance man’s oeuvre reveals untiring attention to and interest in the culture, art, faces, society, and politics of his country. With over 70,000 pictures taken between the 1920s and the 1980s, Domon Ken is considered the supreme master of Japanese photography as well as the main exponent of realism as the only approach possible. Over the years he honed his craft, shifting from propaganda photography during the war to photography as a life’s mission, in search of his own Japan: a fascinating and silent Japan of ancient temples, Buddhist sculptures, puppet theaters (where he took refuge during the war); the seductive and expressive faces of celebrities alongside the modest ones of street urchins; the poorest Japan of mining villages; and finally his most disturbing and modern work, portraying Hiroshima and its unhealed wounds.
The poetry of one of the most renowned Japanese photographers of the 20th century.
Domon Ken, who died in 1990, is venerated in Japan as one of the country’s greatest photographers and a pioneer of realism, but is relatively unknown internationally.
There are also examples of his meticulous capturing of the country’s temples and Buddhist statues and portraits of artistic figures of the 1960s and 1970s.