Japanese Photographer Ikkō Narahara

Zen #08, from the series: ‘Japanesque’, 1969 – Copyright Ikkō Narahara

A former student of photographer Diane Arubus, Ikkō Narahara took a class with her in 1970 and because he didn’t speak English he taped her classes hoping to go home and learn by listening to them. A narration of these Diane Arbus class tapes can be heard in this 1972 video featuring Diane’s daughter, Doon Arbus.

Narahara was a co-founder of the short-lived Vivo collective of Japanese photographers dedicated to capturing Japan’s transition to modernity.

Famous for his use of the wide angle lens, Narahara’s work has a surreal quality to it with its high contrast, strong use of shadows and mysterious figures. Many of his images also have a fluid (almost film-like) movement as seen in this image above of a monk running through the halls of his Zen monastery.

I only came to know of Narahara’s work today while watching the Diane Arbus video mentioned above… and I instantly became a fan.

See more of Narahara’s photographs from the 1950’s to the 1970’s.

Mika Ninagawa
Brian Y. Sato
Toshiko Okanoue
Tomoko Sawada
Hiroshi Watanabe

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  1. 1

    Wow that is great photography. It is also important to note that the photograph was taken four decades ago so even if someone were to think technically it doesn't meet modern standards, for the time it was stellar.

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