Most of Eiko Yamazawa’s formative and mid-period photography career is vivified by her biography. It was during the early postwar period, when she went to America for a second time to study, that her interest in “making” photographs rather than “taking” them was revived. She shut down her successful commercial photography practice in Osaka and at 61, returned to her “art” vocation. The Otani Memorial Art Museum’s “Eiko Yamazawa: What I Am Doing” accordingly focuses on Yamazawa’s golden years, though its 140 works address the entire oeuvre of one of Japan’s first female photographers.
Yamazawa (1899-1995) developed an interest in photography during her teens, though she pursued formal nihonga (Japanese-style painting) training and entered Japan’s first art school for women, now the Joshibi University of Art and Design in Tokyo. Returning to Osaka after graduation, she frequented the Young Women’s Christian Association, which promoted women’s wide-ranging societal integration, studied English and learned about Western painting.