As a small boy growing up in the Japanese countryside, photographer Masao Yamamoto enjoyed looking up at the sky. From his classroom window, he would gaze at the windblown clouds, mesmerized by airborne creatures such as birds, butterflies and winged insects. He sometimes dreamed of riding on the back of a bird and flying away to faraway places.
Yamamoto’s career as a photographer began in 1993. One of Japan’s most important living photographers, Yamamoto has taken many different approaches to photography over the past 20 years. But what has remained constant is the artist’s belief that humans are just a small part of nature, united with it and part of it. Throughout his career, Yamamoto has often returned to animals, particularly birds, as a subject, reflecting his childhood fascination with the creatures and his eternal commitment to the unity of humanity and nature. With Tori, the photographer departs on yet another artistic journey, with a new series of quietly moving animal images (tori means “bird” in Japanese). Yamamoto asks himself, and his viewers: What do we see, and what do we identify with, in birds?
Yamamoto Masao (born 1957) trained as an oil painter before turning to photography. His portraits, landscapes and still lifes are silver prints that are delicately toned and sometimes overpainted/dyed. Among his previous publications is Small Things in Silence (RM/Seigensha, 2015). In the US, Yamamoto is represented by the Yancey Richardson Gallery in New York, Jackson Fine Arts in Atlanta, Craig Krull Gallery in Los Angeles and the Etherton Gallery in Tucson, among others.