Shomei Tomatsu (Okinawa, Japan)

1930
Born in Aichi, Nagoya.
1954-56
Becomes staff photographer for the Iwanami Shashin Bunko series alongside Nagano Shigeichi.
1958
Begins the Chewing Gum and Chocolate series, studying the impact of American occupation on Japan. This will become a major theme throughout Tomatsu’s work.
1959
A major typhoon strikes the area of Nagoya where Tomatsu was brought up, destroying his mother’s home. He photographs the aftermath of the storm.
1959-61
Co-founds the seminal Vivo group with Hosoe Eikoh, Kawada Kikuji, Sato Akira, Tanno Akira and Narahara Ikko.
1960
Tomatsu is asked to produce the photography for a book on Nagasaki for a campaign against nuclear weapons. This is the beginning of the Nagasaki 11:02 series which took stock of the human impact of the atomic bomb, 15 years after it was dropped.
1972-76
Moves to Okinawa after the islands reverted to Japan following the American occupation.
1995
Awarded the Medal with the Purple Ribbon by the Japanese government

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

1996
Traces: 50 years of Tomatsu’s works, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.
2004
Interface, The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto.
2006
Aichi Mandala: Early Works of Tomatsu Shomei, Aichi Prefectural Museum of Art, Nagoya.
2006
Shomei Tomatsu: Skin of the Nation, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

catalogue