“As you can see, my photos are small and seem old. In fact, I work so that they’re like that. I could wait 30 years before using them, but that’s impossible. So, I must age them. I take them out with me on walks, I rub them with my hands, this is what gives me my desired expression. This is called the process of forgetting or the production of memory. Because in old photos the memories are completely manipulated and it’s this that interests me and this is the reason that I do this work.” 

Yamamoto Masao’s work evokes emotional power through small scale photographs. Originally interested in painting, Masao studied oil painting under Goro Saito and eventually moved into photography in 1980. Within his photographic works, his painting background shines through via the usage of blurs and experiments with printing surfaces. As well, many of his photographs incorporate the manipulation of silver gelatin prints with analogue processes. Masao dyes images with tea or paint, sometimes tearing them. The subjects of his work are varied, shifting between Japanese country landscapes to female nudes. Yamamoto Masao’s work is often compared to haikus due to his command of brevity and concentration on the details of everyday life.  


Yamamoto Masao’s photographic style is tactile and inspires viewer engagement through the use of distinct layers and compelling, uncommon installations. Through his detail focused approach, he creates complex, ephemeral experiences with each photograph acting as an isolated part of a larger series of work. Most of Masao’s series work is not framed and aged artificially to imitate tangibility and accessibility.