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Shōmei Tōmatsu

Takuma Nakahira, 1964

Shomei Tomatsu (1930-2012) is widely considered the most important figure in postwar Japanese photography. Spanning more than 50 years, Tomatsu’s work examines the aftereffects of the atomic bombing on Nagasaki, the influence of American military and popular culture, and the impact of the post-1960s economic boom in Japan. His photographs were central to the landmark 1974 exhibition New Japanese Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, New York as well as the 1979 exhibition at the International Center of Photography, Japan: A Self-Portrait. In 2005, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art presented a major retrospective of his work. Tomatsu is the author of more than twenty books, including 11:02 Nagasaki (1966), Nippon (1967), I am King (1972), Okinawa, Okinawa, Okinawa (1969), The Pencil of the Sun (1975), and Oh! Shinjuku (1969).