Through the Y-3 Campaign on the streets of Tokyo, we delve into the style of one of the most prominent figures in Japanese street photography.
Mysterious, opaque, seductive.
Daido Moriyama’s Street photography is a dense tangle of visual information, profound sensations, and dreamlike landscapes that the mind struggles to decode and unravel at first glance.
His shots capture different hours of the day, but Moriyama prefers the night. His scenes seem to move in a parallel universe, dominated by the night lights, within which seductive and enigmatic creatures navigate.
Over the years, Daido Moriyama‘s vision has become an overlay of the city itself: images with subjects in motion, almost ethereal, like the perpetual movement of people and actions that daily and frantically traverse urban space, often depicted in the streets of Shinjuku, his favorite neighborhood.
Haunted landscapes and crowded streets, from which figures, lights, and neon signs emerge, always pulsating with energies destined to be remembered and to testify to their evolving status.
Moriyama‘s highest expression, however, is perfectly manifested in the use of shadow and distortion, especially when focused on subjects. In these moving or stable figures, the blur and graininess of the image seem to convey a psychological tension, emotional and physical instability.
The Y-3 SS23 Campaign captured by Daido Moriyama.
Since the ’70s, Yohji Yamamoto‘s design has always focused on the study of the body and its ability to move: a philosophy based on how we wear clothes, altering the parameters of identity and being, and the way they are executed.
At first glance, Yamamoto and Moriyama‘s aesthetic principles seem to work in opposition: on one hand, the clean and minimal lines of the designer, on the other hand, the disorder and density of Moriyama’s photos. Reduction towards Amplification.
Both create peculiar, immediately recognizable works, which in the case of the SS23 Campaign appear complementary, self-contained but delicately evocative: many of Moriyama’s visual movements are harmonized and suspended by Yamamoto‘s solid geometries of clothing.
The three white adidas stripes on the garments, pristine and uncontaminated, give the photographs an atmosphere akin to collages: a kind of juxtaposition. Geometric spaces completely rearranged around the images: a meeting point that connects the two artists in a unique space.
The most extraordinary aspect of Moriyama’s photography is the dispersion of movement in the image: often present in the subjects themselves, but also in the alignment and tilt of the frame.
The oscillation is subtly felt through a perspective that winds through the streets, infiltrates public and private interiors, playing with light and shadow. The photographs convey the restlessness of this perpetual flow, inherent to the photographer.
The motion is so intensely represented that in certain points the figure dissolves into a blur. The dynamism surpasses the clothing, while the latter seems to embrace the movement. Figures emerge as dancers, or perhaps as theatrical characters. In this context, they are once again attributable to the creatures of Moriyama’s world, where the streets and corridors become a stage, a space for performance.
In this Y-3 Campaign, models often wear clothing that may appear as costumes of a social or traditional nature. In this context, Yamamoto’s design takes on a deeper meaning, characterized by his attention to socio-economic codes, where every detail encapsulates information about class, history, and culture. From the characters and setting emerge narratives rich in possibilities.
The second and last image operate in opposition. Initially, the woman stands outdoors, enveloped in her intact dress. Subsequently, she crouches on the ground in an internal stairwell, with every fold of the fabric clearly visible, an explosion of texture.
Once again, the delightful synchronicity of the composition emerges:
The accentuated shadows, the triple line of the dress echoed in the triple grooves of the stairs.
Fashion is, ultimately, a reaction to the moment we live in. Politically, culturally, economically, but also a reaction to what came before, to history, to the history of fashion, and sometimes to the history of the work of a designer and a photographer. The Y-3 Campaign captured by Daido Moriyama encapsulates decades of essential and geometric design research, form, light and shadow.