Closes in 17 days
The photographer Nobuyoshi Araki is both so prolific and so ubiquitous that he has in a sense become Tokyo, especially for many Westerners. Whether you are enthralled, amused or disgusted by his photos, his vision of the city appears to be all-encompassing. His contemporary, Daido Moriyama, chooses to be more selective in his approach.
Moriyama’s photography is less about it subjects and more about creating texture in two-dimensions. Best represented by his iconic stray dog snarling at the camera, hair in grainy tufts, Moriyama specializes in images that appear as if you could reach out and feel them. If you laid your hand on the prints in his new exhibition, “Record No.6,” at the bookstore Nadiff in Omotesando (www.nadiff.com), you wouldn’t be surprised to pull your palm away wet with the grit of a rainy side street. Such skill even makes a photo of a greasy, soaked tire almost smell of rubber.
These deceptions are caused by Moriyama’s use of black and white film to explore the extremes of light and darkness. Otherwise mundane photos — of a shaded store front, a nighttime street, a lighted interior — are eerie because of the holes poked within the pictorial frame by overexposed light sources or absolute darkness. In one of grim commuters traveling down Shinjuku escalators, a saturated white absence hangs over the crowd; in another, the darkened corner of a bright room creates an unfathomable depth.
Like the Hiroshi Sugimoto exhibition at Gallery Koyanagi that ended last month, this concentration on texture and light makes Moriyama’s photographs ultimately be about composition, at their simplest, and, at their grandest, reality. It’s doubtful Araki would ever have such high-flying ambitions.
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