A young Japanese woman and man sit together, facing the camera, in a small apartment.

Apartment #26, 1977–1978, Ishiuchi Miyako. Gelatin silver print. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. © Ishiuchi Miyako

From the American occupation of Japan to women’s scarred bodies and her mother’s personal effects, self-taught photographer Ishiuchi Miyako (b. 1947) has traced the passage of time and history through her grainy, haunting black and white photographs. Her career began at a time when photographers in Japan, among them Moriyama Daido and Tomatsu Shomei, often created work that confronted the national trauma surrounding Word War II and its aftermath. However, as one of the few Japanese female photographers of that era, she negotiated this male-dominated field in Japan with her distinctive aesthetic, powerfully fusing the personal and the political.

A close-up of the back of a man in a leather jacket crossing the street at a crosswalk

Yokosuka Story #73, 1976–1977, Ishiuchi Miyako. Gelatin silver print. The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. © Ishiuchi Miyako

In 1979, Ishiuchi’s work gained greater recognition when she received the prestigious 4th Kimura Ihei Memorial Photographic Award. That same year she was the only female photographer among the 19 artists whose work appeared in the group exhibition Japan: A Self Portrait at the International Center of Photography in New York.

In 2005, she represented Japan at the Venice Biennale. In March 2014, she became the third Japanese photographer, following Hamaya Hiroshi and Sugimoto Hiroshi, to receive the Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography.

A wrinkled, beige dress is spread flat and backlit.

ひろしま/hiroshima #9 (Ogawa Ritsu), 2007, Ishiuchi Miyako. Chromogenic print. Courtesy of and © Ishiuchi Miyako

“A powerful, pioneering force within the history of photography, Ishiuchi Miyako is widely recognized as one of Japan’s greatest photographers,” says Amanda Maddox, associate curator in the Department of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum. “The exhibition Ishiuchi Miyako: Postwar Shadows, first presented at the Getty Center in 2015, highlights the strength and originality of her vision, as well as her profound influence on subsequent generations of artists.”

Discover the evolution of Ishiuchi Miyako’s explorations of time, her significant impact on the history of postwar Japanese photography, and her influence on subsequent generations of Japanese women in our new Google Arts & Culture exhibition Ishiuchi Miyako: Postwar Shadows.