Hiro’s distinguished career as an exquisite fashion, still-life, and portrait photographer began nearly forty years ago in New York at Harper’s Bazaar. He is greatly admired by other photographers and art directors, is one of the most influential figures in postwar American photography, with an extraordinary sensibility that has no precedent yet he is little known by the public.
When he arrived in America from Japan in 1954 he brought with him his memories of a childhood in China and Japan which have a place in the genesis of his work. For a brief period in the fifties he worked with Richard Avedon, who then sent him to the legendary art director, Alexey Brodovitch. He lived up to Brodovitch’s dictum, “If you look in your camera and see something you’ve seen before, don’t click the shutter.” Hiro was also the most technically advanced photographer of his time, adept at layering imagery in a single frame long before the arrival of the computer.
Much of this mysterious world of Hiro’s, from an album cover for the Rolling Stones to a microscopic still-life, has been photographed on a sea shore that looks like the edge of the world, this stylistic sensibility permits his work a metaphysical air.
Hiro, published in 1999 (Random House), and edited by Richard Avedon showcases his world, a world maked by dreams of technology and space. The book ends with an unsentimental study of the feet and torsos of babies only a few months old. They are part of Hiro’s observation of humanity emerging into a new age. “American Photography has been enriched, if not subverted by such a different imagination,” says author Mark Holborn.