Thursday 21 April 2022

Daidō Moriyama

 As an additional piece of research I will look at Daidō Moriyama who is a Japanese photographer who has been working for more than 50 years and has been christened 'The Godfather of Street Photography' in Japan (Rosen, 2020).  

In this image the photographer has used the frame exquisitely to capture a woman (possibly a 'dancer'..).  The light coming from the left hand side of the frame touches the woman's flesh to make the woman look almost doll like as she stands upon her 'stage'.  The rule of thirds means our eye is drawn to her and then looking further behind to her shadow captured as she dances. The photographer has chosen to not photograph her head giving anonymity to the subject but also that night time feel of indiscretions that will never be spoken of.  The rubbish and the street is in semi-darkness and so does not distract from the focus of the woman's body in the frame. Moriyama states of his own work that; 'I do not distinguish between discarded things and others. There are countless beautiful existences.' (Rosen, 2020)  Here it is clear that Moriyama has captured beauty in what could have been a rather sad and grimy image for a passerby on the street. Although Moriyama himself, 'continues to eschew the belief there are rules to photography or the way we should live our lives. He disregards the idea of originality, believing that photography is simply copying what already exists' (Rosen, 2020).  This may be the case but a sensitive eye will always capture photographs well and clearly he has trained himself in terms of how to compose the image that he wants the world to see.  

In this second image we again see a woman, this time at distance, in the centre of the frame.  The leading line draws our eye to her white legs and feet amongst the rubbish of this back alleyway. Moriyama's approach to urban landscape photography has been described as 'sensual'  (“Near Equal Moriyama Daido” - Daido Moriyama | #filmsnotdead, 2013) and clearly this is the case here.  The soft flesh against the dirt and the potentially dangerous rubbish stand out.  In black and white the light exaggerates the whiteness of her flesh against the black night where she seems to be running. In the frame of this image she is encased and caged in surrounded by tall fences, she is trapped in our eyeline with no escape.  

looking at these images it reminds me of the importance of the frame and how we trap like butterflies in amber the image, which can be gazed upon for eternity.  A moment in time, in stasis forever.  I will consider with my next set of images how I can use the frame to this effect...


Rosen, M., 2020. Discovering magic in the mundane with Daidō Moriyama, Japan's street photography godfather. [online] Document Journal. Available at: [Accessed 21 April 2022].

Kugelberg, J., 2014. Daido Moriyama: art photography's black dog. [online] Dazed. Available at: [Accessed 21 April 2022].

#filmsnotdead. 2013. “Near Equal Moriyama Daido” - Daido Moriyama | #filmsnotdead. [online] Available at: <> [Accessed 21 April 2022].

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