Hosoe's visual language is mythical, theatrical, and evokes his memories. In 1959, young dancer Tatsumi Hijikata held a performance in a small theater in Tokyo, and Hosoe, who viewed the performance, was deeply impressed. The human body was to become Hosoe's constant preoccupation. Hijitaka achieved notoriety and subsequently became the founder of Butoh dance, together with Kazuo Ohno, the Butoh dancer featured in Hosoe;s image. Hosoe applies his mastery of printing techniques to these photographic dramas. Photography functions as a language, and the human body as his subject. His works are held in the permanent collections of the National Museum of Art, Kyoto; Museum of Modern Art, New York; International Museum of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester, USA; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Museum of Modern Art, Paris; Centre de Georges Pompidou, Paris; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Art Institute of Chicago; Hamburg Museum of Art, Hamburg; and Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo, among others.
About the artist
Eikoh Hosoe was born in Yonezawa (northern Honshu) in 1933. He graduated from Tokyo College of Photography in 1954 and became a freelance photographer. In 1959, Hosoe was one of the founders of the photographers' group VIVO, a cooperative agency that shared a darkroom and distributed members' work. His first book was Otoko to Onna - Man and Woman (1961), but it was the following project, with the great Japanese writer Yukio Mishima, Barakei - Killed by Roses (1963) (later re-titled Ordeal by Roses), that achieved worldwide fame. He formed a close friendship with Butoh dancer Tatsumi Hijikata, culminating in the work Kamaitachi (1969). Hosoe has been honored with many awards, including the New Artist Award from the Japan Photo Critics Association (1960) and Photographer of the Year Award from the same association (1963). In 1975, he returned to his alma mater as professor of photography at the Tokyo Institute of Polytechnics and is currently director of the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Art.