Taka Ishii Gallery Photography / Film presents “Tokyo 2,” a solo exhibition of works by Michio Yamauchi. The exhibition marks the artist’s second solo presentation at Taka Ishii Gallery, and features approximately 12 works comprising early black and white photographs from 1980-1990, and recent color snapshots from 2016-2017, all of which capture scenes of Tokyo—a subject Yamauchi has engaged with as his lifework since the very beginning of his career.
Snapshots (Walking the Streets)
It is strange, but when walking in the streets there are times when I come across moments that touch me emotionally, such as people’s facial expressions and gestures, various circumstances surrounding the city and things… When encountering such scenes, I often find my body (cells) reacting willfully and releasing the shutter. It is very easy to take a photograph. You could say that it’s simple. Nevertheless it is a copy of reality itself. As the core meaning lies within the subject, I try to press the shutter with the mindset of capturing that moment.
There is also the pleasure of being able to project your interests, curiosities, and whatever you may feel at your own free will. The more I walk the streets with my camera each day, I feel it eventually leading to a certain purpose in life. Although difficult to discern from a mere few shots, when it manifests in the form of an array of images, the photographer’s way of life also naturally comes to be reflected, as entrusted in the hands of his subjects.
When walking in the streets, there are times when I encounter fascinating scenes. I feel refreshed, as if my sleeping consciousness has been suddenly and unexpectedly awakened. It is very interesting, like becoming acquainted with my unknown self. The city is filled with countless surprises. The world is replete with the unforeseeable, and one cannot help feel that man is but a single part of nature.
Michio Yamauchi, Oct 2018
Since the early 1980s, Yamauchi has continued to capture people, streets, and the times through photographic expressions appropriating light and shadow. He intently walks the streets and releases the shutter as if to simply accept his own physical response to the fragments of reality he encounters. Such method of practice is founded upon his thoughts regarding the reproducibility of the photograph; recognizing how it is not only limited to accumulating a pure record of what would later come to form history, but also harbors potential as the sole means of expression that is capable of capturing the universal truth that lies within the city. The series of works permeate with a powerful sense of tension as a manifestation of the photographer’s way of life. From them, we as viewers can observe his inquisitive gaze against the changing/unchanging features of the people and the streets in response to various times and place, as well as the underlying wonders and ways of the world, which might be called as “the law of all things.”
Michio Yamauchi was born in 1950 in Aichi Prefecture. He graduated from the Second Literary Department (no longer extant) of Waseda University. In 1980, he started night school at the Tokyo School of Photography (currently Tokyo Visual Arts School). In 1982, he graduated from the Tokyo School of Photography and took part in an independent gallery known as Image Shop CAMP, and began showing photographs in photography magazines and independent galleries. Since 1992, he has shot not only in Tokyo, but also in other major Asian cities including Shanghai, Hong Kong and Dhaka. His solo exhibitions include “Tokyo 1983.2.-1986.2.,” Olympus Gallery (Tokyo, 1986); “TOKYO, Tokyo,” Ginza Nikon Salon (Tokyo, 2002); “CALCUTTA,” Konica Minolta Photo Plaza (Tokyo, 2004); “Tokyo 2009.12.,” Third District Gallery (Tokyo, 2010); “Hong Kong 1995-1997,” ZEN FOTO GALLERY (Tokyo, 2016). His publications include Hito-e (Place M, 1992); Stadt (Sokyusha, 1992); TOKYO 2005-2007 (Sokyusha, 2008); Keelung (grafica, 2010). He is the recipient of the 20th Tadahiko Hayashi Award (for “Keelung,” 2011) and the 35th Domon Ken Award (for “Dhaka 2,” fiscal 2015). His photographs are included in the collections of The Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Tokyo and Shunan City Museum of Art and History, Yamaguchi.all images © the gallery and the artist(s)