Yasuhiro Ishimoto (1921-2012) was born in San Francisco, moved to Japan at the age of three, and in the midst of the Second Sino-Japanese War, his parents sent him back to California in 1939. During the war he was interned in Colorado and later settled in Chicago where he decided to study architecture. From there, Ishimoto was drawn into the city’s excellent mid-century photography scene, in which he studied at the Chicago Institute of Design under Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. During this time, he won numerous photography awards, including the Moholy-Nagy Prize, which he won twice. The Institute's curriculum emphasised the formal aspects of the pictorial space and had a profound influence on Ishimoto’s distinctive east-west aesthetic that reinterpreted traditional Japanese culture through the lens of modernism.
In his role as a photographical bilinguist, Ishimoto has greatly contributed to the emergence of the more expressive ‘image school’ generation, of Ikko Narahara, Shomei Tomatsu and Eikoh Hosoe.
Ishimoto’s work has always been highly celebrated globally. It was among others included in the major exhibition Family of Man in 1955 as well as in the seminal show New Japanese Photography in 1974, both in MoMA New York. In 1996 he was titled Person of Cultural Merit by the Japanese government.
His work is included in the collections of The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo (MOMAT), The Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), The Art Institute of Chicago and The Bauhaus Archive among others.