BOOK LIVES: Beginnings: 1975 by Ishiuchi Miyako

Beginnings: 1975
by Ishiuchi Miyako
Sokyusha

Ishiuchi Miyako is one of four Japanese image-makers to have been awarded the Hasselblad Award. Interestingly, she was given the prestigious recognition before the much more prolific Daido Moriyama, who was one of her peers in the 70s.

I first encountered her beautiful book on her mother years ago, but I don’t know much about her otherwise.

The images in Beginnings: 1975 were made around 1975 when she had just built a darkroom in her parents’ house in Yokosuka and needed something to print.

Admittedly, I picked up this book because her name has been engraved in my heart since our first ‘encounter’. The fact that I found this book accidentally in the bookshop that has published it made me even more determined to own it.

Beginnings: 1975 is stylistically very very different from Ishiuchi’s current works which are mostly close-up studies of meaningful things.

In 1975, she was photographing in the same way – gritty grainy black and white – exactly how many Japanese photographers like Moriyama and Shōmei Tōmatsu were.

It never failed to amaze me how many photographers out there are hoarders. In many ways, this is consistent with what many photographers do – collecting memories.

I mean how many of us can say we still keep things we made 30-40 years ago?