Photography, like music, should be a universal language, but when I see the work of many young Japanese photographers I realise this is not the case. Or if it is, I just don’t like what they are saying. Many of the images are a world away from the Japan I know from my admittedly short visits to the country over the years. Like young artists the world over, they seem to think that I’m interested in their personal hang-ups, phobias and obsessions. Well no, I’m really not.
One photographer that does bridge this cultural divide is Daido Moriyama. At the age of 74 and with a lifetime in photography, he has the experience to know what works on an international stage but still enough creativity to surprise and delight us. As evidence, take a look at his recent Tights series (a development of a 1987 idea “How to Create a Beautiful Picture 6: Tights in Shimotakaido”). I am old enough to see these as abstract and semi-abstract patterns and forms, though it is possible that younger people might disagree with my interpretation. This fascinating and appealing set of images are showing at the Michael Hoppen Gallery, just off the King’s Road, London until 20 October 2012. Do see them if you can and buy one if you can afford it (I had to settle for the book, which is an excellent publication, and considerably cheaper at Michael Hoppen’s that at the Photographers’ Gallery bookshop).
Tights is a useful complement to the forthcoming Klein/Moriyama show at Tate Modern, London, which opens on 10 October, so there’s a 10-day opportunity to see both. Great!