Daido Moriyama’s Two Cities

When I had first looked at Moriyama’s Okinawa it was to photograph the cover of the book on the ICP copy-stand. The clear, black and white contrast on the cover led me to quickly flip through the book before deeply looking into it. Moriyama’s enticing haziness is what led me to ask my co-worker to look at the book with me, before I abruptly halted the experience to enhance it with some music. It’s very rare that I enjoy a book with music, since I normally feel that music is too distracting, however I felt that the haziness of Moriyama’s photography is what directly led me to looking up a popular shoegaze song to go along with his images. The almost drenched sound of shogaze music seemed to perfectly parallel what Moriyama did with his photographs, and my co-worker and I took a break from our work to appreciate this combination. I looked at his book with awe in a heavy daze of streetlights, rough guitar chords, and a motionless kind of swaying that made me want to visit Okinawa.


I revisited Okinawa to find that I still had a longing to go to there, and for the exact same reasons. I never had any interest to go there before, and I know given the opportunity I still would not go now. However, I became aware of the fact that Moriyama’s book had instilled a sense of longing in me to experience what he had captured in the island he had visited. I tried to see if this same sort of longing would occur to me in Moriyama’s ’71 NY, but I realized it did not. Moriyama’s blurred style was still present in ’71 NY, however because I have already been in New York, I did not feel the same sense of awe as I did for Okinawa. I didn’t imagine the long chords of shoegaze with ’71 N, and instead I imagined myself on the city street that Moriyama photographed, and realized that that was the appeal of the book. I could try to see if I could recognize the images in Moriyama’s blur because I had been there, rather than seeing if I could identify a new place.


After comparing Moriyama’s two books I realized that the closeness I had felt with one of them was contrasted by the wonder I had for the other. The original appeal of Moriyama’s black and white balanced style led me to enjoy his two books for their balance to me. I was able to romanticize one part of the world with Okinawa, and then appreciate my home with ’71 NY.

-Vidhi Chadha


Over the past school year, Vidhi has been an ICP Library intern by way of Bergen County Academies’ Senior Experience program. She will be completing her internship this week and preparing for future adventures at New York University. We will miss her so much!


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