William Klein and Daido Moriyama at the Tate Modern…

I went to the Tate Modern yesterday, with my university photography group to see the new exhibition of the photographers William Klein and Daido Moriyama, (click on their names – my links don’t appear to be working…).  Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take photographs,  but take my word for it, it was well worth the visit.

The photo below is Klein’s and as you can see he also came from a fashion background, in fact he worked for Vogue.  Although outdoor fashion images may seem quite normal to us now, this was cutting edge at the time, Klein was the first fashion photographer to bring the shots outside the studio. This one was taken in Rome in 1960, and although it was completely staged, the passers by were unaware of this at the time.

William Klein This image of a Candy Store by Klein in the mid 1950’s looked amazing in the huge size hanging in the Tate.

William Klein - Candy StoreKlein, born in 1928 was an American who settled in Paris and Moriyama was born ten years later in 1938 in Japan.  He grew up in the post war period when Japan was under US occupation.  They both came from a fine art background but turned to photography during their long careers.  They are both primarily street photographers with a penchant for the blurry and grainy look.  Neither are very concerned about the finer aspects of photography such as composition, they both prefer the ‘raw and edgy’ look with harsh contrasts, Moriyama often literally ‘shooting from the hip’.

This image of a Stray Dog taken in 1971 was to become his signature image, one that Moriyama came back to repeatedly, producing slightly different versions of the same photo.  He likened himself to the dog roaming around backstreets with his camera.

Daido Moriyama - Misawa 1971

Daido Moriyama - Shizuoka 1969The image above was taken in Shizuoka in 1969.  I had seen many of the images in books, but the scale of much of their work at the Tate was breathtakingly huge!  The books just don’t do justice to the real thing. Obviously most of the work was in black and white film, and it really made me want to experiment with their kind of style and some grainy 3200 ISO film, Moriyama used Kodak Tri-X film almost exclusively.

The exhibition costs around £13 to get in, and is on until mid January 2013.  It’s a very demanding show, probably too large, it’s really two exhibitions in one, so tea breaks are essential. This review is from The Observer (click on ‘The Observer’).


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