New York's Aperture Foundation recently sat down with influential Japanese photographer Yutaka Takanashi. Known for his raw and subjective depictions of post-war Tokyo, Takanashi was a member of the short-lived, yet influential Provoke magazine. Following the disbandment of Provoke, Takanashi published the highly regarded Toshi-e (Towards the City) photobook and would go on to create several fine art photo books while also finding success in commercial fashion and advertisement photography. Read the full interview now at Aperture.
Tsuyoshi Ito: What made you want to join Provoke?
Yutaka Takanashi: Takuma Nakahira invited me because I appreciated and pursued different approaches to photography. I found Provoke’s rebellious attitude interesting. Before Provoke, I perceived older photography as very redundant; there was hardly any creativity to it. Even most of my contemporaries were conservative.
Ito: Moriyama joined the Provoke group for the second and third issue. How did this impact your work? How was working with Nakahira and Moriyama? Had you hoped for a fourth volume?
Takanashi: I thought it was fine that we disbanded. We had explored the range of photographs we wanted to, so to make a fourth volume seemed unnecessary. I continued my friendship with Nakahira, and visited him when he was ill and hospitalized. I was drawn to Nakahira not as a photographer, but as a person. He questioned and challenged things constantly. I didn’t know much about the other members, but because Nakahira was there I decided to join. I didn’t know much about Moriyama, I just heard that someone was stirring up trouble. I thought his photography was pretentious. We weren’t close.