Daido Moriyama: The Mighty Power

The Legendary Photographer Plunges Into the Dark Corners and Bright Lights of Hong Kong

Acclaimed Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama’s sensual approach to the urban landscape is revealed in this edifying short by the Hong Kong-based filmmaker Ringo Tang. Now in his 70s, Moriyama shot to fame when his grainy black-and-white images depicting a post-war Japan in flux won the country’s New Artist Award in 1967 and has since had major retrospectives at the New York Metropolitan Museum and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1999), the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (2008) and, currently, at Tate Modern in tandem with William Klein. His high-contrast, distorted imagery and raw-verging-on-sordid content has influenced the work of countless photographers. Tang’s relationship to the master of harsh street photography is especially poetic: “The Moriyama black has always fascinated me,” the director writes in homage. “A thick slash of heavy black, so overwhelming.” Filmed while Moriyama was in Hong Kong for his first ever solo exhibition there, the short splices examples of his oeuvre with footage of the artist himself, whose short sentences are layered over the industrial beat of the city. The result taps into Moriyama’s engaged, multi-sensory experience of the metropolis, which he investigates using not only sight, but also smell and sound. Observations such as “The past cannot be captured by the present, the present can only be captured in the moment” crystallize what Moriyama refers to as “the mighty power” of photography. 

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    The Rising Pop-Step Duo Premiere Their Choreographed Video for “Your Drums, Your Love”

    Dancers pop and lock around the mirrored and monochromatic artworks of young illustrator Arran Gregory in AlunaGeorge’s video for new single “Your Drums, Your Love.” Twinning electronic-driven R&B with pop sensibilities, Aluna Francis and George Reid first emerged with the hit video for their sultry “You Know You Like It.” Shot at Gregory’s current illustration exhibition at Dalston’s Print House Gallery by director Henry Scholfield, and with Francis wearing a cuboid necklace from east London jewelry designers Shimell and Madden, the video for “Your Drums, Your Love” was an opportunity to collaborate with friends. “There were so many personal elements that had been brought into it,” explains Francis. “We had been trying to work with Arran [Gregory] for a while and we just love sick dancing.” Combining Francis’s statuesque beauty and steamy vocals with Reid’s Dubstep-inspired pop production, the soulful duo, recently trumpeted by The New York Times and The Guardian, are currently putting the finishing touches to their as yet untitled debut album. Here, AlunaGeorge shared their top fashion week party tracks.

    Montell Jordan – “This is How We Do It”
    It’s an apt statement for any fashion show.

    Outkast – “Hey Ya!”
    It’s the “shake it like a Polaroid picture” bit. You can imagine everyone in the front row waving their fans watching the models go by. 

    Madonna – “Vogue” 
    It means a lot to a lot of different people, from the voguing community to young girls. I think it’s nice to bring a lot of different people together. 

    Daft Punk – “Digital Love”
    It’s been the soundtrack to most decent parties for the past decade. It doesn’t feel old either, and I still bloody love it!

    Make up by Smashbox.
    Styling by Foluke Anglin.

    Head to our Facebook page to go behind the scenes of today's film and post your questions for AlunaGeorge. The band will be posting answers to selected questions tomorrow, Tuesday 9/18.


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    Zeng Fanzhi: Beneath and Beyond

    Our Chinese Language Site Launches with an Intimate Portrait of China’s Leading Painter

    Record-breaking Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi looks back on his time at the Hubei Academy of Fine Arts and explains his obsession with calligraphy in this short by Hong Kong-based filmmaker Ringo Tang. Propelled onto the global stage after one work from his seminal Masks series sold for $9.7 millions dollars at a Christie’s auction in 2008, a record for contemporary Asian art, the thoughtful Zeng was captured in his studio over three days of shooting. “I decided to backlight the artworks so that the brushstrokes and techniques are very clear,” explains Tang. Employing a unique method in which two or more brushes are employed simultaneously, Zeng uses one brush to carefully paint his subject on the canvas while the other destroys it with a frenzy of linear strokes, thereby creating a landscape of underlying tension. His extensive Masks series of the 90s explored the psychological challenges confronting the rapidly modernizing Chinese population—depicting his subjects with white-masked faces, blank stares and grotesquely oversized hands, uncomfortably posed in their new Western-style suits and ties. Longtime friends, Tang first met Zeng nearly 20 years ago in his hometown of Wuhan during an art tour with a curator from Hong Kong. “I met him right after he finished school. He didn’t have much money and his studio didn’t have a washroom, so he used one at the hospital,” Tang says of a circumstance that led to Zeng’s Hospital series. “Then in 1993 after Zeng’s first exhibition in Hong Kong, it really opened art critics’ eyes to China.”

    NOWNESS launches its Chinese language website today. Explore it here.

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