Kenro Izu (b. 1949) was born in Osaka, Japan.
During his studies at Nippon University, college of art, Izu visited New York in 1970 to study photography, and subsequently decided to stay and work. In 1975, after working as an assistant to other photographers, Izu established Kenro Izu Studio in New York City, to specialize in still life photography, both commercial and fine art. In 1979, Izu made his first trip to Egypt, which inspired him to begin his series Sacred Places, an exploration that is still in progress.
In 1983, a platinum print by Paul Strand inspired Izu to take a step toward developing his own contact-printing process using Platinum/Palladium, using a super large format camera. Since then, all of Izu’s work is produced by the same technique, mostly in a 14x20 inch format. Izu’s still-life images include floral and anatomical subjects. In 2000, Izu started experimenting with a technique of Cyano over Platinum to achieve deep blue-black. The body of work entitled, Blue, was completed in 2004.
As Izu continues his series, Sacred Places, he has traveled to Egypt, Syria, Jordan, England, Scotland, Mexico, France and Easter Island (Chile). More recently, he has focused on Buddhist and Hindu monuments in South East Asia: Cambodia, Burma, Indonesia, Vietnam and, most recently Bhutan and India. Izu’s work has been exhibited in numerous museums including the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery of Smithsonian Institution, Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Art, Cleveland Museum of Art, Peabody/Essex Museum, Museum of Photographic Art, Rubin Museum of Art, among others. He has published several books of his work including: Sacred Places, Kenro Izu Still Life, Passage to Angkor, and Eternal Light.
In 1985, after a several visit to Cambodia to photograph the Angkor Wat, Izu decided to build and operate a free pediatric hospital, and founded a not-for-profit organization, Friends Withou A Border, to help children of Cambodia who suffer from lack of medical facilities and severe poverty. The Angkor Hospital for Children, which opened in 1999 in Siem Reap , Cambodia is now an official medical education center.
Izu has been the recipient of the Catskill Center for Photography Fellowship in 1992, a NEA grant in 1984, the New York Foundation for Arts grant in 1985, the Lou Stouman Award in 1999, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2001, the Vision Award from the Center for Photography at Woodstock in 2005 and a Lucie Award in 2007.