This catalogue accompanied his first U.S. retrospective in 1999.
“Moriyama is conspicuous for the brutality with which he distorts photographic description: his pictures are sooty with grain, blotchy with glare, often out of focus or blurred by movement, often defaced by scratches in their negatives. Because Moriyama is often looking through some barrier–steamy glass, a grille, a hole in a door–one may begin to squint a little before realizing that the picture will never get any clearer. None of this represents bad technique. It is wholly purposeful, and gives the photographer an expressive leverage perfectly adjusted to his subjects: if the actor impersonating a geisha was already grotesque before Moriyama arrived, the distortions that the photographer adds in evoke the shock of discovering him. Many of Moriyama’s pictures thus hit us doubly–with a frightening or repellent thing, and with a manner of rendering it that is the visual equivalent of nausea, vertigo or horror.
Moriyama’s pictures therefore include many that neither describe Americanization nor express any longing for old, vanished Japan. On the face of it, what have a stray dog, a rumbling Kyoto streetcar, a naked woman from whose bed the artist has just crawled, a Borsalino hat or a stained washbasin to do with either? While, for Tomatsu, Americanization can be rationally denounced and (at least in one’s imaginings) undone, it is a given for Moriyama and he turns from its obvious manifestations toward material that is ever more idiosyncratic and personal.” Leo Rubinfien (http://www.americansuburbx.com/2010/06/theory-daido-moriyama-investigations-of.html)
Publisher: https://www.sfmoma.org/ (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)