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Shomei Tomatsu, also known as Teruaki Tomatsu, first studied Economics in college. Born January 16, 1930, in Nagoya, Japan, Tomatsu enrolled at Aichi University to dabble with business. Although this was the case, he could not let go of his penchant for photography. As a student, he joined many photography contests, where most of his images were published.
After graduating in 1954, Tomatsu decided to work as a freelance photographer. In 1959, he teamed up with legendary photographers Eikoh Hosoe and Ikko Narahara to form the Vivo collective.
In 1961, Tomatsu and another great photographer – Ken Domon – published a moving photo book entitled “Hiroshima-Nagasaki Document 1961.” Their snapshots of the effects of the atomic bombs dropped on the said cities were lauded and heralded in the local and international photography communities.
In 1972, he relocated to Okinawa, which became the focus of his photo book “Pencil of the Sun.” In 1998 he moved to Nagasaki – one of the cities which were featured in his and Domon’s acclaimed publication.
Tomatsu’s photos have traveled locally and internationally. In 2004, “Shomei Tomatsu: Skin of the Nation” was displayed at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. It was also exhibited at the National Gallery of Canada and Corcoran Museum of Modern Art in Washington, DC.