I was excited to see recently that a new edition of Masao Yamamoto’s retrospective book “Small Things in Silence’ will be published in May. It looks like it will have a new cover and additional images. This news made be go through my library and dig out the previous version of the book and take a look.
Masao Yamamoto was originally trained as an artist, studying oil painting with Goro Saito in Gamagori City, before turning to photography. As an artist his range of subjects include the nude, still life, landscape and wildlife. To these subjects he brings a painters eye and aesthetic, pushing the gelatin silver process by dyeing, toning with things such as tea distressing the final prints. The result is of course much more than a straight representation, achieving a more ethereal and poetic quality.
One of the striking things for me is the print size. Masao’s prints are typically small – small enough to be hand held. This way of finishing the work is the antithesis of the ‘immersive print’ movement. Prints so large that you can almost feel as though you could walk into them. Intimate prints beg for a different kind of engagement, a more personal one. A print that you can hold in your hand invites you to look deeper. Printing images like this makes the statement that this is only a small piece of a larger whole.
Check out the videos below to hear Masao talk about his work and see more on his Instagram page here.