Boys singing to drive away harmful birds, (from the series Snow Country, Torioi Festival) Kuwatordani, Niigata, 1948
© Keisuke Katano for Hiroshi Hamaya courtesy Studio Equis
Silver Gelatin Print
30 x 20 cm
Hiroshi Hamaya is one of the key names of Japanese photography, and was active both pre- and post-war. He focused on making photographs, whose subject was Japan and its people, shot in a photo-journalistic style. His photos addressed subjects like pollution; rice planting, which even today is laborious work that has to be done manually chest deep in mud; the modernization of Tokyo; and local Japanese customs.
Hamaya was born in 1915 in Tokyo. His interest in photography started young, Hamaya was childhood-friends with photographer Kineo Kuwabara and together they took many photographys already in their youth. Hamaya joined the Oriental Photography Company, where his idol, photgrapher Yoshio Watanabe worked. From 1960 until his death, Hamaya was the first Japanese photographer to become a member of the international photographic cooperative, Magnum Photos. Still today, Magnum has had only one other Japanese photographer (Hiroji Kubota) in addition to Hamaya. Hamaya died in 1999.