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Kotaro IIZAWA's essay

Photographers of Japan

Vol.6 "NISHIMURA Tamiko (1948-)"

by Kotaro Iizawa (Critic and historian of Photography)

Born 1948 in Tokyo, Tamiko NISHIMURA learned photography at Tokyo Photography College (Present Tokyo Visual Arts). As a student, she took photos of actors from underground theatrical company "Jyokyo Gekijyo", lead by Jyuro kara. The time was 1970, when Japan was in an uproar over the revision of Security Treaty between Japan and the United State of America.

Graduated Tokyo Photography College in 1969, NISHIMURA begun to travel across Japan from Hokkaido to Okinawa. During this period, a style where one takes photos while on a journey driven by an individual motive, has begun to catch young photographers' hearts. Photographers such as Daido Moriyama who serialized "Journey towards something" (1971) on a camera magazine, Issei Suda, Kazuo Kitai and Hiromi Tsuchida has departed from Tokyo to country sides of Japan with cameras in their hands. With rapid economic growth and urbanization equalling views of country sides to cities, thus losing traditional lifestyle of Japan may have been their large motive, if not all, for them to make an action. It was this time NISHIMURA was contacted by the publication office of her old school to release a collection of photographs. For this offer, she decided to gather her stock of photos for this publication.

Her collection of photographs "Shikishima" (Tokyo Photography College publication Office) was published in 1973. "Shikishima" is a pillow word (decorative word used prefixally in classical Japanese literature) used for Japan's ancient name "Yamato", and this collection of photographs is made of works mainly in Hokkaido, Tohoku and Hokuriku districts during 1969 to 1972. Looking at these works, it is clear to see that NISHIMURA had no folkloric or social intention, but photographed simply with her own physiological reaction. However, although her works are records and experiences of her private journeys, they still express the air of 1960s to 1970s of Japan.

Works photographed around these times were not mentioned after their publication, and they were al,ost forgotten. However, they were brought back into the light during 2010s. Collection of photographs "Jitsuzon - Jyokyo Gekijyo 1968-69" (Graphica Editorial Office) was released in 2011, and "Shoukei" (Graphica Editorial Office) was released in 2012. In 2014, revised edition of "Shikishima" (ZEN Foto Gallery) has been published and exhibitions are held one after another. This does not mean a simple nostalgia, but heartrending and moving charm which NISHIMURA's photographs have are recognized once again.

(Kotaro Iizawa)

Works by Tamiko NISHIMURA
"Hakodate, Hokkaido"
(Shoukei p.7)
Early '70s
Vintage gelatin silver print
Image size: 19.7×29.0cm
Sheet size: 25.0×30.5cm
"Kobe, Hyogo"
(Shoukei p.112-113)
Vintage gelatin silver print
Image size: 19.0×27.8cm
Sheet size: 25.2×31.0cm
"Ohmagari, Akita"
(Shoukei p.56-57)
Early '70s
Vintage gelatin silver print
Image size: 15.0×23.2cm
Sheet size: 25.3×30.8cm

For inquiry about works, 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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