Hiroshi Hamaya (1915-1999) - one of the best known Japanese photographers.
Born in Tokyo, he became interested in photography at age fourteen, and after completing high school, he worked as a photographer for the Oriental Photo Industry Company. In 1935 he bought his first Leica and the next year had a photograph published in Home Life magazine. He has worked as a freelance photographer since 1937, in Tokyo until 1945, then in Takada City, Niigata Prefecture, and in Oiso, Kanagawa Prefecture since 1952. Throughout his career, he traveled to a variety of international destinations, including Manchuria, China, Thailand, Western Europe, North America, Nepal, Australia, and Algeria. Among his many books are Yuki Guni (The Snow Country) (1956), The Red China I Saw (1958), Landscapes of Japan (1964), and Mount Fuji: A Lone Peak (1978). A member since 1960 of Magnum, the international cooperative photography agency founded by Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa, George Rodger, and Chim (David Seymour), Hamaya's work has appeared in exhibitions, including Cornell Capa's The Concerned Photographer, Hamaya's Japan at the Asia House in New York, and Hiroshi Hamaya: 50 Years of Photography at ICP, in conjunction with which he received the Master of Photography Infinity Award in 1986.
Hamaya's first two published photographic series, Yuki Guni, and Ura Nihon (Back Regions of Japan), were based on his mid-1950s studies of the people of Japan's rural areas, where folk customs remained strong. It was during this time that Hamaya began to develop his theory of Fudo, a term describing an individual's conception of and attitude toward his or her general environment, including its topography, flora and fauna, climate, and ecology. The interest in nature eventually superseded his previous focus on people, and became his main area of concentration during the second half of his career.