Daido Moriyama is one of Japan’s (and The World’s!) most renowned photographers. His unique vision, often expressed though high-contrast black and white images, is love at first sight for many.
For others… it’s more of an ‘acquired taste’.
Post a Diado Moriyama image (under a pseudo-name) in a given Flickr voting group and chances are good that it will be voted out post-haste to much harsh criticism (refer to the DeleteMe! Henri Cartier-Bresson indicent here)
But for those who appreciate Moriyama, there is much to be appreciated!
Some admirable traits / interesting facts:
1. DAIDO IS LONG LIVED: Daido Moriyama is 75 years old, has been photographing for over 50 years, and is still going strong – proving your best work doesn’t have to be (or end) in your early years.
2. DAIDO IS PROLIFIC: with around 1000 books (who knows how many images – one book alone, ‘Labyrinth’, contains contact sheets and an estimated 4500 images) his never-ending life-long love of photography is inspirational!
3. DAIDO IS NOT AFRAID TO CHALLENGE THE STATUS QUO: his images and use of (at that time radical) ‘are, bure, boke’ (grainy, blurry, out-of-focus) is everything a photograph shouldn’t be, isn’t it?
4. Perhaps most inspiring of all, with DAIDO, it’s NOT ABOUT THE GEAR. Being known for using the Ricoh GR line of point and shoot cameras, the Nikon S9100 compact, or really any small camera at hand (so long as it’s NOT a big SLR/DSLR), Daido’s message is one that we all know, but often seem to forget: photoghraphers create images, not cameras! The camera is merely a tool, like a pen or pencil, used to write a beautiful story or poem.
Often, when I’m obsessing about what gear to take with me on an outing, or what lens to purchase next, or what body/system is best… when I’m in the throws of GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) I stop, take a breath, and think to myself: “WWDD – What Would Daido Do?”
The answer is clear. Daido wouldn’t be sitting around thinking about gear – he’d be out shooting!
So thank you, Daido, for that – the best and most important lesson in photography ever!!
Very short on time this week, but more on Daido Moriyama in future. Have a great weekend!