One of Japan’s most important contemporary photographers, Naoya Hatakeyama is noted for his large-scale color pictures, through which he surveys the complicated relationship between civilization and nature. His timeless, austere images transport viewers to unseen locations—Tokyo’s dank sewer tunnels, for example—and document both industrial sites and mines, often in states of transition. The trademark of Hatakeyama’s work is his photographic series depicting limestone quarries. In these arresting photos, Hatakeyama captures the aggression and magnitude of the quarries' controlled explosions, as unquantifiable fragments of stone and debris are timelessly suspended, providing proof of the extreme ends to which humans will go to conquer nature. Meanwhile, Hatakeyama’s poignant photographs of his tsunami-swept hometown convey the opposite: nature's absolute control over culture.
Hatakeyama has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, and the Kunsthalle St. Annen in Lubeck, to name a few. Selected group shows include the Venice Biennale, the National Museum of Art in Osaka, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the International Center of Photography in New York, and the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.