UEDA Shoji

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UEDA Shoji 植田 正治 (1913.3.27-2000.7.4) Sakai-minato, Tottori Pref. One of the revered elders in Japan's photographic pantheon. His photos taken on the Tottori Sand Dunes are his most famous and most widely published.

Major themes Tottori sand dunes, portraits

Education Yonago Public High School, Tottori Pref., 1924-30. Oriental School of Photography, Tokyo.

Career Photo bug since junior high school. Moved to Tokyo in 1932 and worked at a dept. store photo studio. Then studied under KIKUCHI Toyo at the Oriental School of Photography, Tokyo.

After graduating, returned to Sakai-minato and opened a photo studio in 1933. Photos came to be published often in photo magazines. Established Japan Sea Club in 1933.

Founding member of Chugoku Photographers' Club, Okayama in 1937 through which his photos came to be exhibited in Tokyo. Joined Ginryusha Photographers' Club, Tokyo, 1948; and Nika-kai Photographers Club, Tokyo, 1955. Professor of Photography, Kyushyu Sangyo University, Fukuoka Prefecture from 1975.

One of the revered elders in Japan's photographic pantheon. His photos taken on the Tottori Sand Dunes are his most famous and most widely published. No Ueda Shoji photo exhibit would be complete without at least a picture or two of his Sand Dunes.

His style emphasizes spatial composition, with unique perspectives. You can always see the near and far. The [Shoji Ueda Museum of Photography Shoji Ueda Museum of Photography] is in a scenic area of his hometown of Tottori Prefecture.

Awards Photography Prize, Nika Exhibition, Tokyo, 1955; Photographic Society of Japan Award, Tokyo, 1975; Cultural Merit Award, Tokyo, 1978; Award of Merit, Photographic Society of Japan, Tokyo, 1989.

Sample photos: http://www.japro.com/ueda/set/02.html

Shoji Ueda Photographs I - 植田正治作品集 1

Reviewed on: July 30, 2000 Last modified: 2005-04-03

Retrospective collection of his trademark pictures of people placed on Tottori's famous sand dunes.


Published: Oct. 6, 1995 Publisher: Parco Shuppan ISBN: 489194448X Price in Japan: ¥3,262 Qualities: Soft cover, B/W photos Size: A4, 92 pp. Language: Japanese

Shoji Ueda recently passed away on July 4, 2000 at age 87. He will be sorely missed by Japan's photography world. I was fortunate to meet him once at one of his exhibitions where he autographed my exhibition catalog and even let me pose with him for a picture. He was kind, and well liked by his colleagues.

Ueda's most famous photographs are those taken on the Tottori Sand Dunes with people placed like objects on the sand. His striking spatial compositions with a dash of surreal or dreamy elements won him much acclaim. There is always a strong contrast between near and far objects in his photographs. The sand dune portraits dominate the book. He had a variety of people pose on the dunes for him, including children, a group of musicians, a nude model, and even Ken Domon who was a fellow photographer. There are also self portraits of himself and his family on the sand. He looks very playful in the pictures. The pictures in the book were taken from 1935 to the early 1990s.

Shoji Ueda Museum of PhotographyBesides the sand dune photos, other pictures show children at school, a portrait of a local beauty queen, an elderly woman dressed as a sumo wrestler, and a young lady in front of tall brush.

If you ever visit Tottori Pref., be sure to visit the sand dunes and the photo museum dedicated to him. (Reviewed by Philbert Ono)