Monk of Kita Kamakura, 1950 This photograph, shot during the American Occupation of Japan, shows an intersection and tension between Japan's traditions and progress in postwar Japan, symbolized by the waiting monk and the speeding train. The street signs in English reflect that period. This photograph was published in Shigeichi Nagano: Japanese Photographers (Iwanami Shoten, 1999).
About the artist
Nagano, Shigeichi was born in the southern city of Oita in 1925. Graduating in economics from Keio University in 1947, Nagano planned a career as a white-collar worker until a chance meeting with fellow graduate Natori Yonosuke, who hired him as an editor for his newly launched magazine, Sun News. In 1949 he became a photographer for the Iwanami Shashin Bunko series, and travelled all over Japan to take documentary pictures for over 60 volumes in the series. He turned freelance in 1954 and in a series entitled The Five o'clock Salaryman (1959) developed an individual photographic style.In 1960 he received the Photographer of the Year award from the Japan Photo Critics Association and the Ina Nobuo Award in 1986. Nagano later won the annual award of the Photographic Society of Japan in 1991 and 1995. Commenting on his work, he said: "For me, taking photographs in Tokyo means being committed to 'now', the age in which I live." Nagano's works are held in the permanent collections of the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography; the George Eastman House, Rochester, New York; and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston.
"Art must be an expression of love or it is nothing." - Marc Chagall