Ishimoto Yasuhiro is considered one of the most influential figures in Japanese photography, but he started on a different path. He was an architecture student at the University of Chicago when WWII began. From 1942 to 1944, he was interred at the Granada War Relocation Center along with 7,000 other Japanese-Americans. It was there that he found the medium that would become his life's work.
After the war, he returned to Chicago to study photography, winning numerous awards and eventually a commission from the Museum of Modern Art in New York. That commission--a black-and-white photographic study of Katsura Imperial Villa in Kyoto--was later published as the book Katsura: Tradition and Creation in Japanese Architecture. The book put him on the map and led to an illustrious career of fellowships, professorships and even the high honor of being named a "Person of Cultural Merit" by the Japanese government.
Fifty of Yasuhiro's stunning black-and-white photos are on display at Boise State this week. They examine themes of architecture and street life in an attempt to place longstanding cultural traditions in a modern context.