Eikoh Hosoe is one of Japan's most iconic post-war photographers, recognized for his legendary collaborations and impeccable aesthetics.
Born Toshihiro Hosoe in 1933, Hosoe’s childhood in Tokyo was interrupted by the outbreak of the Second World War when he was evacuated to Tōhoku in the rural north of Japan. Hosoe was fascinated by the post-war reality in which he came of age, going so far as to change his name to Eikoh in recognition of the new world he intended to capture with his camera.
Hosoe returned to study at the Tokyo College of Photography and graduated in 1954 to become a freelance photographer, gaining early exposure in camera journals and women’s magazines. He first garnered significant critical attention when he won the Fuji Film Award as a student in 1951, and was soon established as a prominent member of Tokyo’s avant-garde creative elite. After taking part in the legendary Eyes of Ten exhibition in 1957, Hosoe formed the VIVO group with fellow photographers including Shōmei Tōmatsu, Kikuji Kawada, Akira Satō and Ikko Narahara.
In his most celebrated photographic series Hosoe worked with a succession of highly influential creative contemporaries to deliver extended collaborative portraits. The series Barakei (‘Ordeal by Roses’) was born out of Hosoe’s friendship with writer Yukio Mishima, whilst in Kamaitachi Hosoe worked with iconoclastic ankoku butoh dancer Tatsumi Hijikata.
Hosoe was a leading member of several experimental artist collectives, including Demokrato and the multi-disciplinary Jazz Film Laboratory. He was later appointed director of the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts and has been Vice President of the Japanese Photographers Association since 1981. He has taught at Tokyo's School of Photography since 1969, and at the College of Photography since 1975.
Hosoe is the recipient of the Royal Photographic Society's 150th anniversary special medal, for a lifetime contribution to art. He has also been awarded The Medal with Purple Ribbon (1998), The Order of the Rising Sun (2007), the Mainichi Art Award (2008), and he was designated as a Person of Cultural Merit by the Ministry of Education (2010).
He has been the subject of numerous solo and group exhibitions in Japan and abroad, and his photography is held in the permanent collections of many public institutions including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The British Museum, London, The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, and The Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco.