What connects the following photographers?

1957 Yasuhiro Ishimoto (石元 泰博)
1958 Ikko Narahara (奈良原一高)
1960 Eikoh Hosoe (細江英公)
1961 Tohmatsu Shomei (東松照明)
1961 Seiryu Inoue (井上青龍)
1962 Shisei Kuwabara (桑原史成)
1964 Yutaka Takanashi (高梨豊)
1967 Daido Moriyama (森山大道)
1967 Kishin Shinoyama (篠山紀信)

You will agree it is a fabulous line-up, and an era that must be seen in retrospect as a golden age for Japanese photography.

The dates give a clue, for they are the years in which these photographers received an award from the Nihon Shashin Hihyouka Kyoukai(日本写真批評家協会). This organisation operated between 1955 and 1971. In hindsight it is easy to say these were obvious choices, but it is not at all easy to identify great photographers so consistently at an early stage of their careers.

Most of the award winners have gone on to greater recognition, in Japan and overseas, but one or two have been forgotten by all but the connoisseurs and their work deserves to be seen by a wider audience. I'll return to this theme in a later post, and in future Zen Foto exhibitions.