A selection of images by this artist can be viewed here
Hamaya began teaching himself photography from the age of 15 and became a freelance photographer in 1937. He gained recognition in the immediate aftermath of World War II and his work was subsequently included in Edward Steichen’s The Family of Man exhibition (1955) at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He is best known for works such as Yukiguni (Snow Country, 1956) and Ura Nihon (Japan’s Back Coast, 1957), humanist portrayals of the rites and rituals of daily life in rural Japan focusing on the inextricable relationship between people and their natural environment.
In 1960 Hamaya became the first Asian photographer to work for Magnum Photos. During this year he covered the demonstrations against the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, personally adopting an anti-government stance. His experience of this episode left him disillusioned with human nature and from then on he focused his photography on nature, an endeavour which led him to travel around the world and for which he used his training in aerial photography. In 1986 a retrospective of his work was shown at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York.
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