Akira Sato is a Japanese photographer born on the 30th of July 1930 in Tokyo. He is widely acclaimed for his iconic, graphic and experimental photographs of women and his seminal book, entitled Women, is an enigmatic collection of portraits subtly meshed with fashion. As with all things Japanese, his work retains an exotic element that evolved to become a signature characteristic of his style. While a student of economics at Yokohama National University, Sato became an avid reader of LIFE and other photographic and fashion magazines at the American CIE library in Hibiya. He graduated in 1953 and one year later made the move and became a freelance photographer, specialising in fashion.
From around 1956 he was up to date with the new trends in contemporary photography, and participated in the seminal 1957 exhibition 'Junin no me' (Eyes of Ten), with a key group of other Japanese photographers, who are today considered to be the most influential photographers of the late 20th C: Yasuhiro ISHIMOTO, Kikuji KAWADA, Shun KAWAHARA, Akira SATO, Akira TANNO, Shomei TOMATSU, Toyoko TOKIWA, Masaya NAKAMURA, Ikko NARAHARA, and Eikoh HOSOE. Sato subsequently joined one of the most influential movements in Japanese photography. The movement, called Vivo, was significant not only because of the artistic quality of its members but because of the artistic quality of the next generation as well, many of whom assisted the Vivo members, including Daido MORIYAMA and Nobuyoshi ARAKI.
Sato had a series of one-man shows starting in 1961, alongside publications within the camera magazines. He specialized in black-and-white photographs of girls: their faces in close-up. In 1963 he travelled to the US, where he was famously mugged one night, and then to Europe. Sato returned to Japan in 1965 where he remained until his death on the 2nd April 2002. His prints are extremely rare and sought after and up until now have lain hidden away. The Michael Hoppen Gallery is delighted to be able to exhibit a substantial and important group of his work at AIPAD in New York in April 2014