Born in Nagoya, Shomei Tomatsu (1930-2012) came of age in Japan's turbulent, self-questioning postwar years. He started out as a self-taught traditional photojournalist in the early 1950s, but found himself drawn intuitively to the intimate and the everyday. In 1958, though, keen to show what he saw as the creeping Americanisation of his country, he began photographing the American soldiers stationed in military bases throughout Japan. Recognition came in 1959 when Tomatsu had his first solo exhibition The Japanese in Tokyo and he received the Mainichi Photography Award. His central role in Vivo, a self-managed photography agency, established his place in the forefront of postwar Japanese photography. In 1960 Tomatsu began a series on Nagasaki to document its current state for the Japan Council Against A and H bombs. The result was a joint effort with Ken Domon and others, Hiroshima-Nagasaki Document 1961. Through the publishing house Shaken and the quarterly journal Ken he founded, he published several photography collections, among others his book, Oh! Shinjuku, named after a shopping district in central Tokyo. This book chronicles the rise of a young and rebellious Bohemianism that, as an older outsider, he saw – as he later put it – 'through the eyes of a stray dog”. Those words seem prophetic. Tomatsu was one of the giants of Japanese photography that a younger generation of photographers, such as Daido Moriyama, who came to prominence in the late 60s, reacted against.
Tomatsu has been the subject of numerous solo and group exhibitions in Japan and abroad. He participated in the groundbreaking New Japanese Photography exhibition in 1974 at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and, in 2011, the Nagoya City Art Museum featured Tomatsu Shomei: Photographs, a comprehensive survey of his work.
<11：02> Nagasaki - Shomei TomatsuTomatsu, Shomei, 1966hardcover with slipcase, 168 pages
Publisher: Shashin Dojinsha
Dimensions: 230 × 200 mm
Chewing Gum and Chocolate - Shomei TomatsuShomei Tomatsu, 2014hardcover, 176 pages
Dimensions: 295 x 246
I Am A King - Shomei TomatsuShomei Tomatsu, 1972softcover with dust jacket in original cardboard slipcase, 272 pages
Publisher: Shashin Hyoronsha
Dimensions: 240 x 210 mm
Shomei Tomatsu - Shomei TomatsuTomatsu, Shomei, 2018hardcover, 172 pages
Dimensions: 280 x 240 mm
The Pencil of the Sun: New Edition - Shomei TomatsuTomatsu, Shomei, 2015two softcover books in a slipcase, book 1: 280; book 2: 152 pages
Publisher: AKAAKA Art Publishing
Dimensions: 257 x 227 mm
#24 VIVO - EIKOH HOSOE, KIKUJI KAWADA, IKKO NARAHARA, AKIRA SATO, AKIRO TANNO, SHOMEI TOMATSU7 Dec 2017 - 14 Jan 2018IBASHO proudly presents the exhibition VIVO, a group show with work by the founders of the renowned Japanese photographer’s collective VIVO, Eikoh Hosoe, Kikuji Kawada, Ikko Narahara, Akira Sato, Akira Tanno and Shomei Tomatsu . Although VIVO was active only from 1959 until 1961, it culminated a movement in postwar...