HAMAYA Hiroshi 濱谷 浩 (1915.3.28-1999.3.6) Tokyo. Documentary photographer and member (now deceased) of Japan's pantheon of venerable photographers. Magnum's first Asian photographer.
Major themes Rural Japan in the 1950s, people and their environment-dependent way of living
Education Self-taught in photography starting at age 15.
Career Freelance based in Tokyo 1937-45; in Takada, Niigata Pref. 1945-52; and based in Oiso, Kanagawa Pref. from 1952 until his death.
Contributing photographer for Magnum Photos since 1960. He was Magnum's first Asian photographer. Photographed outside Japan on numerous occasions including Manchuria, China (1940 and 1942), Western Europe, America, Canada, Nepal, Australia, Greenland, and Algeria. Numerous photo books including Yukiguni (Snow Country) shot in Niigata Pref. and also covered the 1960 US Security Treaty riots. Contributing photographer for the A Day in the Life of Japan book in 1985.
Started photography in his teens with people as his main subject. People and their environment-dependent way of living became a recurrent theme in his works.
From 1954 to 1957, he traveled around "Ura Nihon," the prefectures facing the Sea of Japan. One of his most famous photos from this time is "Woman Planting Rice" taken in Toyama Pref. in 1955. The photo shows a headless shot of a woman walking through a muddy rice paddy, herself covered with mud from the chest down.
The photo books Yuki-guni (Snow Country), photos taken in Niigata Pref., and Ura Nihon are notable records of this period. Through his domestic travels and photography, he sought to understand the Japanese people better. His attention also encompassed the relationship between man and nature. Realistic photographic style.
Awards Master of Photography Award, International Center of Photography, New York 1986; The Hasselblad Foundation Award in 1988; The Honorary Fellowship of the Royal Photographic Society in 1997.