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As a young child, Mao Ishikawa has always envisioned himself as a photographer. His passion for capturing beautiful, still-life images became her inspiration for enrolling at the Shomei Tomatsu School of Photography in Tokyo in 1973.
Born in Okinawa in 1953, Ishikawa was exposed to American military men. This was one of the reasons why she relocated to Philadelphia in the 1980’s. Her fascination with American soldiers led her to capture moments of the difficult lives of her G.I. friends. Compilations inspired by her experience with the military include “The Self-Defense Forces of Okinawa,” “Life with U.S. Military Bases,” and “The 47th Summer after the War in Okinawa.”
Her graphic pictures were full of life and meaning, it inspired viewers to think out of the box. These images, in fact, have paved the way for Ishikawa to break barriers in the man-dominated world of photography.
Ishikawa has published several photo compilations, most of which are considered rare photography books. In 1990, she published “A Port Town Elegy.” The following year, she released “Sachido Nakaga’s Theatrical Company.” After 12 years of publication hiatus, Ishikawa published “Okinawa Soul” in 2002. Her latest project to date is “Life in Philly,” which she published in 2010.