© Yasuhiro Ishimoto
Yasuhiro Ishimoto was born in 1921 in San Francisco, California, and grew up in Kochi on the island of Shikoku. In 1939 Ishimoto returned to the U.S., and was interned with other Japanese-Americans in Colorado from 1942-1944. He moved to Chicago in 1944 to study architecture at Northwestern University, and a couple of years later he transferred to the Institute of Design, the famed institution founded by Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, where he studied under Harry Callahan and Aaron Siskind. In 1961 Ishimoto returned to live in Japan for good. Ishimoto’s most famous body of work is Chicago, Chicago, published in 1969 and comprising work he shot in his adopted city from 1958 – 1961. His other published works include Katsura: Tradition and Creation in Japanese Architecture (1960), Chicago, Chicago: Sono 2 (1980), and Shibuya, Shibuya (2007).
The above photo from 1951 is part of the current Japan: A Self Portrait exhibition, which looks at Japan from 1945 – 1964 through the eyes of 11 photographers, including Ishimoto, Ken Domon, Shomei Tomatsu, Eikoh Hosoe, and Shigeichi Nagano. The exhibition at the Setagaya Art Museum will run until June 21, after which it will travel within Japan before making its way to Europe. The exhibition was curated by Marc Feustel of Studio Equis — please see our interview with Feustel for more on the show and how it came to fruition.