Harumichi Saito was born in Tokyo in 1983, and graduated from the Shakujii School for the Deaf in Tokyo in 2004. After being an Honorable Selection by photography critic Kotaro Iizawa in the Canon New Cosmos Photography competition of 2009, he returned to the competition in 2010 and was photographer Masafumi Sanai’s selection for one of four Excellence Awards handed out, for the work from which the above photo is taken.
Saito’s work focuses on people living with disabilities, but his work is not in itself a portrait of disability. As Saito himself commented at the time of his 2010 New Cosmos award, “I was never satisfied with photography that concerns disabilities. They are usually either monochrome photographs that are too austere, or the exact opposite: unnaturally cheerful and full of smiles. I never felt comfortable with this.”
Saito’s work from KANDO has been published in a new book from Akaaka Arts Publishing which is now available in the Japan Exposures bookstore. Please also see our special gallery featuring more of Saito’s KANDO work.