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Kotaro IIZAWA's essay

Photographers of Japan

Vol.1 "maroon" -- Whereabouts of new works by Hiroshi Osaka

by Kotaro Iizawa (Critic and historian of Photography)

When he made his debut during 1980s in his 20s, Hiroshi Osaka has already perfected his style of photography. In 1982 he was awarded the grand prize in Japan Professional Photographers Society Exhibition for "The Land of the Holly", which is the photograph of the hand-made doll. Nude photography series "Syzygy" released later decorated photography magazine tops and Osaka continued to receive high reputations, winning the Japan Photographers Society's young photographers award in 1985.

Although he continued to work energetically on fashion magazines and calendars through his 30s and 40s, his works seemed somewhat stagnant. Maybe this was because of his misfortune, not being able to meeting a gallery and director that suites his works. Whatever the reason may be, it was rather mortifying for me as I had my eyes on him from early period.

So, I was both looking forward and anxious when I heard Osaka is releasing new works. In the end, worry was just a worry and I was satisfied with what I saw. There were very Osaka-like work, where craftman's quality is fused perfectly with rich fantasy.

To be precise, these works are taken about 10 years ago but have been shelved. Models are twins working as a makeup artist and a hairdresser. Ladies with un-Japanese like beauty photographed in Osaka's main ground, woods are simply splendid. Photographs express Osaka's romantic longing towards female sexuality, and capture models' witch like aura very well. Twins are said to be a mythic existence, as one's alter ego stands aside. Its this strange sense of discomfort that can said to be creating a depth to these works.

However, this series of new works does not seem to be the full comeback. Osaka is a well known artist with nude photographs represented with series such as "Syzygy", and I can not stop expecting a new development, working further into this theme. This is not to say that this series "maroon" is just a forerunner. They are truly wonderful works, showing desires to return to nostalgic and mystic mother nature in shape. I sincerely hope this group of works to be a step towards more mature, large-scale works.

(Kotaro Iizawa)

Works by Hiroshi OSAKA
"maroon 09-2"
2002 (Printed 2012)
Gelatin Silver Print
"maroon 14"
2002 (Printed 2011)
Gelatin Silver Print
"maroon 30"
2001 (Printed 2011)
Gelatin Silver Print

All works listed above are owned by Toki-no-Wasuremono.
For inquiry about our collection, please contact us from our inquiry form.


Vol.16 "Ogawa Takayuki (1938 - 2008) − explorer of “shape” through photography"
Vol.15 "Kitai Kazuo - Capturing “a scene I once saw…”"
Vol.14 "Kazama Kensuke"
Vol.13 "Narahara Ikko - Double Vision"
Vol.12 "Q Ei and photo dessin"
Vol.11 "Fukuhara Shinzo 1883-1948 -- Japanese Landscape Photography"
Vol.10 "The city observer’s gaze Akihiko HIRASHIMA (1946~)"

Vol.9 "Hitoshi FUGO 1947- -- The unusual world of works which fuses thought and technique"
Vol.8 "Iwata NAKAYAMA (1895-1949)"
Vol.7 "KISEI KOBAYASHI (1968-)"
Vol.6 "Tamiko NISHIMURA (1948-)"
Vol.5 "Shigeo GOCHO (1946-83)"
Vol.4 "Shoji UEDA -Locality open to the world-"
Vol.3 "Yu OGATA, ICHIRO OGATA ONO -Dyslexia's picture of the world-"
Vol.2 "Eikoh Hosoe's theatrical imagination"
Vol.1 "maroon" -- Whereabouts of new works by Hiroshi Osaka


Born 1954 in Miyagi prefecture, Japan. Iizawa is a Japanese photography critic, historian of photography, and magazine editor.
He studied photography in Nihon University, graduating in 1977. He obtained his doctorate at University of Tsukuba in 1984. With his trilogy, "Geijutsu shashin to sono jidai (Art Photography and its Time)", "Shashin ni kaere (Go back to the photography)" and "Toshi no shisen (Glance of the City)" published in 1986, 1988 and 1989, he stood out and became the representive photography researcher of the early 20th century. Iizawa founded magazine "Deja-vu" in 1990 and was its editor in chief until 1994. He has been taking part as a judge in public competitions "Shashin-shinseiki (New Generation Photography)" and "Hitotsubo-ten (3.3m² Exhibition)", since their beginning, and through these competitions made the "girly photo" trend in the 1990s.

Reknowned as Nobuyuki Araki researcher. In 1996, he was awarded the Suntory Arts Award for his book "Shashin bijutsukan e yokoso (Welcome to the Photography Museum)". Also, he is an enthusiast for mushrooms and published books such as "Sekai no kinoko kitte (World's Mushroom Stamps)" and "Aruku kinoko (Walking Mushrooms)".
He was a part-time instructor at the Tokyo College of Photography in 1981, teaching Photography Artist Research. In 2004 and 2008, he was a part-time lecturer at Faculty of Liberal Arts, University of Tokyo, teaching history of photography in Japan.

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