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Who is Daido Moriyama? Discover the life, works, and quotes of the “are, bure, boke” photographer!

Daido Moriyama’s work is a testament to the power of photography as a medium to capture the complexities of human existence.

His raw, unfiltered images offer a unique perspective on urban life, challenging traditional notions of photography and inspiring generations of photographers. As we delve into his life, works, and quotations, we gain a deeper understanding of his vision and his enduring impact on the world of photography.

Mriyiama it’s a protagonist of the Japanese photographic technique “are, bure, boke” refers to a photographic style that plays with concepts such as grain, blur, and out-of-focus elements. This technique is often used to achieve creative results and break with the conventions of traditional photography. Let’s see what each element of this technique means:

Are (grain):

Description: “Are” refers to the grain in the image. In this context, grain indicates a noticeable texture in the image, which can be achieved through the use of film or added in post-production. The goal is to create a more textured and sometimes vintage atmosphere.

Bure (blur):

Description: “Bure” concerns the blur in the image. This element can be achieved through various techniques, such as using a reduced depth of field, selective focus, or adding blurs in post-production. The objective is to create a sense of movement or a blurred subject, adding dynamism to the image.

Boke (out-of-focus):

Description: “Boke” pertains to the out-of-focus, particularly light blurs in the out-of-focus area of the image. This can be achieved through a reduced depth of field, where lights outside the focal point transform into circular or polygonal blurs. The goal is to create a pleasant and often ethereal aesthetic effect.

When these three elements are combined with skill, they can produce images that deviate from the traditional canons of photography, adding elements of creativity, abstraction, and atmosphere. The “are, bure, boke” technique has been widely adopted by photographers seeking to explore new expressive methods and break away from the technical perfection associated with many forms of traditional photography.


    Renowned for his gritty, high-contrast black and white images depicting the chaos and dichotomy of post-war Japan, Daido Moriyama is a celebrated figure in the world of contemporary photography. Born on October 10, 1938, in Ikeda, Osaka, Moriyama’s journey into photography began in the late 1950s. He moved to Tokyo in 1961, where he worked under the tutelage of eminent photographers like Takeji Iwamiya and Eikoh Hosoe.

    Moriyama’s work is characterized by a raw, unfiltered view of city life and its underbelly. His images often blur the lines between the private and public, the staged and the spontaneous, creating a unique visual language that has influenced generations of photographers.


    Moriyama’s prolific career spans over five decades, with his work being showcased in numerous exhibitions and publications worldwide. Some of his most notable works include:

    • Nippon Gekijo Shashincho (Japan: A Photo Theater): Published in 1968, this book marked Moriyama’s debut as a photographer. It features a series of images capturing the darker side of urban life in Tokyo.
    • Shashin yo Sayonara (Farewell Photography): This 1972 publication is considered one of Moriyama’s most radical works. It features deliberately blurred and out-of-focus images, challenging traditional notions of photography.
    • Hunter: Published in 1972, Hunter is a collection of Moriyama’s street photography, capturing the hustle and bustle of city life.

    For a more comprehensive look at Moriyama’s work, visit the Daido Moriyama Photo Foundation.


    Moriyama’s philosophy and approach to photography are best encapsulated in his own words. Here are some of his most notable quotations:

    “For me, photography is not about an attempt to create a two-dimensional work of art, but by taking photo after photo, I come closer to truth and reality at the very intersection of the fragmentary nature of the world and my own personal sense of time.”

    “In order to capture the chaos of existence, I let myself drift through the city streets on a wave of capriciousness.”

    “The city has everything: comedy, tragedy, eulogy, erotic. It is the ideal setting, the place where people’s desires are interwoven.”


    Moriyama’s influence on contemporary photography is profound. His unconventional approach and aesthetic have inspired countless photographers worldwide. In 2012, he was awarded the Infinity Award for Lifetime Achievement by the International Center of Photography in New York. His work continues to be exhibited globally, with recent exhibitions at the Tate Modern in London and the Fondation Cartier in Paris.

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