Born in Fukuoka in 1931, Ikko Narahara studied law at Chuo University and, influenced by statues of Buddha at Nara, art history at the graduate school of Waseda University, from which he received an MA in 1959. In 1955 Narahara joined Jitsuzaisha (Real Existence), an avant-garde painting group and was associated with artists such as Tatsuo Ikeda and the leader of Japanese Surrealism, Shuzo Takiguchi. During the same period he met Shomei Tomatsu, Eikoh Hosoe, and together with Kikuji Kawada, Akira Sato and Akira Tanno, they founded the photography agency VIVO in 1959. He thereafter continued to create photographic work while at the same time actively engaging with creators irrespective of a specific medium.

Under the general theme of ‘Sights of Civilization’, Narahara photographed a wide variety of inhabited spaces, such as in his series ‘Where Time has stopped’ (1963-65), ‘Venice -Nightscapes’ (1964-85) and ‘Where Time has vanished’ (1971-72). Narahara‘s work appeals through its elusiveness, an unwillingness to maintain a singular shape or form. He often combined several negatives in the darkroom in order to create an image with an intangible, ephemeral quality.