Japan’s Modern Divide: The Photographs of Hiroshi Hamaya and Kansuke Yamamoto

March 26–August 25, 2013
At the J. Paul Getty Museum, Getty Center

This exhibition presents the work of two photographers whose careers spanned much of the twentieth century, or the Showa Era (1926–1989) as it is known in Japan. Hiroshi Hamaya (1915–1999) and Kansuke Yamamoto (1914–1987) began as teenagers to experiment with various formal approaches and techniques in photography. As their work matured, however, they took very different paths. Through the display of works from Japanese as well as U.S. collections, the exhibition examines two important strains in Japanese photography: the documentary investigation of regional traditions and social issues, represented in the work of Hamaya; and the avant-garde movement that developed in the context of Western surrealism and advanced through the work of Yamamoto. These two trends not only reflect significant, though rarely shown, activity in the history of Japanese photography but also reveal the complexity of modern life in that nation since the Meiji Restoration.

Press Materials:

        Japan’s Modern Divide (Press Release)

          Japan’s Modern Divide (Available Images)

          Japan’s Modern Divide (Related Publication)

          Japan’s Modern Divide (Related Events)

          Japan’s Modern Divide (Object List)  

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Banner images (left to right): A Chronicle of Drifting, 1949. Kansuke Yamamoto (Japanese, 1914–1987). Gelatin silver print. Private collection, entrusted to Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. © Toshio Yamamoto; Man in a Traditional Minobashi Raincoat, Niigata Prefecture, 1956. Hiroshi Hamaya (Japanese, 1915–1999). Gelatin silver print. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. © Keisuke Katano

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