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A maverick in the history of photography, Ishiuchi Miyako (b. 1947) burst onto the scene in Tokyo during the mid-1970s, at a time when men dominated the field in Japan. Working prodigiously over the last forty years, she has created an impressive oeuvre and quietly influenced generations of photographers born in the postwar era. Recipient of the prestigious Hasselblad Award in 2014, Ishiuchi ranks as one of the most significant photographers working in Japan today.
Spurred by her contentious relationship with her hometown, Yokosuka—site of an important American naval base since 1945—Ishiuchi chose that city as her first serious photographic subject. Grainy, moody, and deeply personal, these early projects established her career. This choice of subject also defined the beginning of Ishiuchi’s extended exploration of the American occupation and the shadows it cast over postwar Japan.
Ishiuchi has since addressed the theme of occupation both indirectly—through her photographs of scars, skin, and other markers of time on the human body—and more explicitly, with her images of garments and accessories once owned by victims of the atomic blast in Hiroshima. Essays featured in this volume reveal the past as the wellspring of Ishiuchi’s work and the present moment as her principal subject.