Wikipedia entry
Yasuhiro Ishimoto (石元 泰博, Ishimoto Yasuhiro, June 14, 1921 – February 6, 2012) was a Japanese-American photographer. His decades-long career explored expressions of modernist design in traditional architecture, the quiet anxieties of urban life in Tokyo and Chicago, and the camera's capacity to bring out the abstract in the everyday and seemingly concrete fixtures of the world around him. Born in the United States and raised in Japan, Ishimoto returned to the States as a young adult as the Second World War began to escalate, and was soon after sent to the Amache Internment Camp in Colorado after the signing of Executive Order 9066. After the war, he studied photography at the Bauhaus-inspired Institute of Design (ID) at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and established a robust photographic practice between the United States and Japan. As a transnational interlocutor between Japanese and American art and architecture circles, Ishimoto played a prominent role in bringing visions of Japanese architectural modernism to audiences abroad. His photographs of the Katsura Imperial Villa, taken in 1953-54 and published in 1960 as Katsura: Tradition and Creation in Japanese Architecture, were widely celebrated in architecture and design circles for evoking the formal, geometric purity of the villa’s structural details with a deep sensitivity towards the atmospheric qualities of the space. The book, which features accompanying essays by Kenzō Tange and Walter Gropius, was instrumental in stimulating the discourse surrounding modernism’s relationship to tradition in Japanese architecture. Ishimoto’s work was exhibited widely in the United States and Japan during his lifetime, and two of his photographs were featured in the monumental 1955 Museum of Modern Art exhibition The Family of Man.: 35  He maintained close ties to Chicago and published a series titled Chicago, Chicago in 1969.: 45  In tandem with his architectural photographs, Ishimoto was a prolific recorder of everyday life. His photographs of streetscapes and ordinary people captured the candor, anxiety, paradoxes, and joy of modern urban life through a sensitive and deliberate lens.
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Getty record
Born 14 June 1921. Ishimoto studied agriculture in Japan in the 1930s and returned to the United States in 1939. Emigrated to Japan in 1961 and became a naturalized citizen in 1969. Ishimoto was a student of Harry M. Callahan while studying at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
American, Japanese
Artist, Photographer
Yasuhiro Ishimoto, Yasuhito Ishimoto, Yasuhiro Y. Ishimoto, Yasuhirō Ishimoto, 石元泰博, 石本康博, 石本泰博
Information from Getty’s Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License


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  • Photography at MoMA: 1920 to 1960 Hardcover, 416 pages

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