Galerie &co119 is pleased to present her first solo exhibition by Japanese photographer Herbie Yamaguchi from May 16 to July 8.
Herbie Yamaguchi was living in London when the Punk movement started 40 years ago. Herbie says he could sense a new change in the air, especially in the elds of Music and Fashion.
Youngsters with Mohican hairstyles and leather jackets became for Herbie, then young photo- grapher to-be, his favorite subject. But quickly the“New Wave”and“New Romantic”movements appeared, and allowed Herbie to go further in his photographic approach.
Herbie says that the day he became a photographer was not the day he acquired his own camera, but the day he found his photographic subject.
London allowed Herbie to refine his photographic themes. One special encounter had a very strong impact on him, and gave him the kick he needed. One day, as he was heading home, he saw in the London Tube, Joe Strummer, the lead vocalist and guitarist of punk group The Clash. Herbie was quite impressed, and a bit shyly asked him if he could take a few shots, which Joe accepted nicely. But as Joe was walking out of the train, he turned back to Herbie and told him : “You can click away of whatever you want. That’s punk !”
Those words were quite decisive in Herbie’s career, and gave him the confidence to be a photographer. He became the echo of this creative scene evolving in London, which was then, the city where artists from all over the world were gathering.
Herbie did not have money, so unlike many of his photographers friends, he could not a ord to rent studios for his shootings. He was therefore taking photos of his subjects in their daily life, whenever and wherever he had a chance to meet them. He was the nice little Japanese guy everybody liked and whose presence did not disturb anyone.This special status allowed him to take spontaneous shots, unique and sometimes even intimate, such as the pictures he took of his roommate George – who later became known as Boy George – washing his laundry in the bath tub, or simply lying in his bed.
Herbie likes to say that it was thanks to everybody’s friendliness he could take all these pictures. Without their kindness, these photos would not exist.
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Born in 1950, he suffered from spinal caries and spent most of his childhood in corset, which fortunately led him to the photo club in school where he found his lifetime passion. He earned a bachelor’s degree in economics before he left home for London in 1973, where he stayed for the next decade. In London, he joined the musical company “Red Buddha” led by Tsutomu Yamashita and performed on stage as an actor for a while. Soon he started to capture the days with his camera and kept a lively record of the development subculture movements, especially the punk scene in the 70’s London as he was inspired by his own experiences. Among his early works, his photographs of punk rock musicians such as Joe Strummer (The Clash) re- ceived high recognition. Once returned home toTokyo, he kept visiting Europe to photograph hundreds of people, from artists to everyday people, which eventually became his precious collections of monochrome. His style is well-known for its delicacy and naturalness. Today he is one of the most celebrated photographers who have fans and admirers all over the world. His enthusiasmisnotlimitedtophotocollectionsandexhibitions:healsowritesformagazinesand appears on TV and radio. He is a visiting professor at Kyushu Sangyo University and Osaka University of Arts.
AWARD: Lifetime Achievement Award (Photographic Society of Japan Awards 2011). Herbie has been selected as one of the photographers in “ Eyes Wide Open 100 Years of Leica Photography”