These movies require the Flash plug in v.6 or later.
Shoji Ueda was sixteen when his parents gave him his first camera, and from that point on his life was dominated by photography. In this initial period Ueda discovers the work of European photographers such as Man Ray and Andre Kertesz, and begins to experiment with avant-garde techniques such as the rayogram and solarisation. In his compositions he also makes use of unusual resources such as high-angle and low-angle shots and deformations.
The dunes of Tottori, the region where Shoji Ueda was born, become the ideal setting for his most original and well-known works. As if he were a theatre director, Ueda arranges his characters?actors or members of his family-in this landscape of sand and sky, and thus creates a dreamlike atmosphere. The resulting images have a sober and refined composition, and reveal an acute sense of humour.
When Ueda aims his camera at the objects around him he creates scenes that are clearly influenced by Surrealism, and whose elements acquire an unsettling presence. His penetrating gaze, turned toward nature and the world, creates the strange sensation that the order of things is not the result of chance.
The series 'Children the Year Around' constitutes a celebration of the passing of the seasons along the Sanin coast, on the Japan Sea, and does so through two subject matters: children and popular festivities. For Ueda, children are like objects d'art which he carefully places within a space that he himself composes. These extraordinarily powerful scenes evoke forgotten memories that return with an unmistakable sense of deja vu.
Throughout his photographic trajectory Shoji Ueda never ceases to focus on the 'small world' of everyday life. In most of his work he records, as one would in a diary, the settings and situations that captivate him. Although he travels little beyond his native Japan, he never goes anywhere without his camera. This section includes images taken on his few journeys through Europe (1972-1973).
Shoji Ueda interrupts his work on several occasions to travel to Europe, although he doesn't stop taking photographs. In these, his way of seeing a world that to us is familiar proves to be somewhat surprising. This visual interval, which he insists on describing as a 'silent souvenir', in fact reveals more about his art and what might attract his attention than about the actual subject matter of the photographs.
Towards the end of his life, his gaze is once again drawn irresistibly toward the sea. Encouraged by his son Mitsuru, Shoji Ueda returns to the Tottori dunes in order to produce a series of fashion and publicity photographs that had been commissioned from him. There he re-encounters the sand, the sky, the light, the coastline and the emptiness. However, on this occasion he experiments with the full extent of the space, with new photographic formats and, of course, with different kinds of people.