EIKOH HOSOE: JAPANESE PSYCHO-THRILLERS

Photographer and filmmaker Eikoh Hosoe’s imagery dive into the darkest corners of our minds. Drawing on an eye for film, Eikoh creates other worlds which are shaped with skillfully crafted, unnatural scenes and horror-esque landscapes. His most esteemed photo series, Kamaitachi (1969), recreates the fable of a demon who haunts rice fields in rural Japan and slashes people with a sickle. A surrealist, Eikoh emerged off the back of post World War II realism and added a new texture to Japanese photography by weaving gothic references and dark and gritty contrasts that explore death, eroticism, religion, and irrationality.

“The camera is generally assumed to be unable to depict that which is not visible to the eye and yet, the photographer who wields it well can depict what lies unseen in his memory,” Eikoh once stated in a press release. On top of his work, the photographer was the leader of many avant-garde artist groups, including The Jazz Film Laboratory which he started in the 1960s after being a student at the Tokyo College of photography with fellow photographer Shōmei Tōmatsu. It is said that Eikoh revived Japanese sensibility at a time of cultural upheaval, allowing Japanese society to understand the dark underlinings of its psyche at a time of great cultural change.