My introduction to Daido Moriyama was another of those random bookstore finds, Record No.6. At the time I knew nothing at all about the photographer but the images... high contrast black and white, gritty and immediate, fractured and dislocated. This was the city, this was my experience of the city. Record No.6 was the first body of work I had seen that captured what I was seeing and experiencing around me. It was the first photography book I ever bought. It made me want to see more. It made me want to take more pictures.
“I have always felt that the world is an erotic place. As I walk through it my senses are reaching out. And I am drawn to all sorts of things. For me cities are enormous bodies of people’s desires. And as I search for my own desires within them, I slice into time, seeing the moment. That’s the kind of camera work I like.” -Daido Moriyama
As I learned more about the photographer I also fell in love with the idea of publishing these small magazines. There is something about the format, they not only make work affordable but there is something of the precious in them as well. Moriyama describes the books in the Kiroku (Record) series as a "self published personal photo journal" and "as an arbitrary selection of favorite photos". For some reason they make me think of my record collection... of placing the needle in the groove and just sitting back. Looking through them is akin to the feeling of holding a record cover in your hands and just listening. Contemplation... they open up to looking, seeing. In the age of the internet this is a rare commodity.
I am a little surprised at the images I am choosing for this post. It was meant to be me thinking about street photography but is mutating into something else. Images that capture me. Images I wish I had taken. And I think that is what is so special about Daido Moriyama. This contemplation... this seeing. He has been photographing Tokyo for 50+ years. It would be impossible to sum up his work in a handful of images and a few disjointed paragraphs.
It is his commitment to photographic seeing.. his love of Tokyo.. that inspires me. I am beginning to think that good photography is less and less about some dynamic moment... that one image that crystalizes in front of you. Projects completed and filed away. Photography is life... it flows, histories get rewritten... new connections are made, new doors open. For me this is the essence of street photography. That continued quest, an intimate involvement with your subject, a personal vision that comes through in your work. Daido Moriyama exemplifies all of these things.