Noriaki Yokosuka 1937 – 2003

I see a naked body.

Nudity in motion or nudity still,

it transcends gender and attains it’s own existence.

Glimpses float into view: muscles tensed to bursting point,

veins bulging with blood flowing, generating heat,

dissolving fat, bulking muscles.

Passing through that naked flesh into within,

the universe of Eros is waiting.

Noriaki Yokosuka first distinguished himself as a pioneer of fashion and fine art photography in his student days, creating posters for Shiseido that fast became landmark works in the advertising industry. His talent for taking photos that no one else could is well-illustrated in a comment by photography giant and peer Nobuyoshi Araki, working for Dentsu Inc. at the time, who said “(Yokosuka) was the first photographer of whom I was jealous.” Yokosuka’s activities from the late 1970s onwards, particularly his collaborations with groundbreaking fashion model Sayoko Yamaguchi and acclaimed Butoh dance company Sankai-Juku, as well as his involvement in creating Issey Miyake’s brand image, were undeniable stepping stones to his arrival on the world stage, culminating in Yokosuka becoming the first Japanese photographer for the German, Italian, and French editions of Vogue Magazine.Yokosuka’s status as an object of envy in the glamorous world of advertising was undoubtedly a result of his deep commitment to pursuing work of superior quality, an obsession evident in the tenacity of his industry photography. Yet it is arguably his private works in the background that truly speak volumes of the photographer Noriaki Yokosuka.

 

In his final days, Yokosuka left a selection of original prints and a few rolls of film to his family before taking a pair of scissors to his massive collection. Then he departed this world.This leading light of Japanese photography constantly pursued the new, sharpening his mind’s eye throughout life with a cool-headed precision. Presented in a body of art with enough depth and variation to occupy its own universe, his wild and uninhibited images command awe regardless of time’s passage. Quietly, they continue to extol the true enchantment that photographs can hold.

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