Exhibition: Tomatsu Shomei

No doubt, you're all familiar with the monochrome look of early 60s Japan that is rolled out with TV clips or magazine photos every time the 1964 Tokyo Olympics are mentioned. It's a gritty, grainy, modernist world of new trains, factories, horn-rimmed glasses, and odd angles thrown up by Japan's re-industrialization and coming boom.

The photographer who perhaps documented this strange world the best was Nagoya's own Tomatsu Shomei (b.1930) who saw his city destroyed by American bombers and was chosen in 1960 to snap the survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb. The exhibition looks at his early career up to the mid-60s with 200 works. As well as showing the chaos of modernization, he also has a knack for capturing something of the tension between past and present, as in his excellent 1958 picture of a kimono-clad prostitute exhaling more smoke than a factory.

June 2 - July 23, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, 1-13-2 Higashisakura, Higashi-ku, Nagoya. 10:00 - 18:00 daily (till 20:00 Fri.). Admission is 1,000 yenJapanzine
June, 2006

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