Tomatsu and the sea of Okinawa
Immerse yourself in the true Japan with this video
Thanks to a special permit, Tomatsu visited Okinawa when it was still occupied by the Americans. In spite of the occupation, the photographer discovered that that the southern part of the country had preserved what, to him, represented the truly traditional Japan. In Okinawa, venerated animists cults remained in the most ancient Japanese chronicles and in age-old forms and experiences. The unhurried rhythm and quiet life fascinated the photographer, who was able to poignantly depict this atmosphere when capturing everyday scenes.
Okinawa marked a dividing line in Tomatsu’s work a before and after in his photography. This intensity can be felt in this video, which conveys the light, colors and tones of Okinawa and grants us access to the photographer’s enthusiastic vision of the place.
The artistic trajectory of Shomei Tomatsu began in the 1950s, not too long after the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This led Tomatsu to focus his attention on the devastation wrought in the country by so many years of war.
Since then, Japan, its people, the effect of the occupation and how the latter led to the loss of certain traditions became key themes of his work. This first retrospective of his work in Spain can be seen until September 16 in our space in Barcelona: Sala Casa Garriga Nogués.