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Ken Domon

Photojournalist Ken Domon, who is famous for his snapshots of Buddhist statues and temples, is considered as one of the icons of 20th century photography.

Born in the Yamagata Prefecture, Domon studied law then shifted to painting and photography after being expelled from Nihon University. In 1933, he secured his first-ever photography stint at the Miyauchi Photo Studio.

Like photographer Ihei Kimura, Domon contributed to the war effort. But when Japan fell to the Allied forces, he shifted to documenting the effects of the war to the people, from the survivors of the Hiroshima bombing, to the coal-mining village of Chikuho. His moving portraits make him one of the early supporters of ‘realism’ in photography.

Domon, who rejected ‘posed’ pictures, won the Photographer of the Year award and the Manichi photography Award from the Japan Photo Critics Association in 1958. The following year, he was given the Award of Arts from the Ministry of Education. He was then handed the Japan Journalist’s Congress Award in 1960.

When Domon suffered from a stroke in the 1960, he became confined to a wheelchair. But it did not stop him from shooting pictures. In fact, it became the driving force behind his famous photo books, such as Koji Junrei.

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