Love, sex and desire on show in Daido Moriyama's photos

Part of the Shinjuku series by Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama, this black- and-white picture (right) is for sale at the Mad Love exhibition. Critics and audiences have compared Moriyama's personality with the lone, wandering stray dog in one of
Part of the Shinjuku series by Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama, this black- and-white picture (right) is for sale at the Mad Love exhibition. Critics and audiences have compared Moriyama's personality with the lone, wandering stray dog in one of his most famous shots (left). It is not on display but is for sale. Mr Sohey Moriyama (above left), nephew of Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama, and Museum of Art and Design gallery owner Jasmine Tay (right) at the Mad Love exhibition.PHOTOS: DAIDO MORIYAMA PHOTO FOUNDATION ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA
Part of the Shinjuku series by Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama, this black- and-white picture (right) is for sale at the Mad Love exhibition. Critics and audiences have compared Moriyama's personality with the lone, wandering stray dog in one of
Part of the Shinjuku series by Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama, this black- and-white picture (right) is for sale at the Mad Love exhibition. Critics and audiences have compared Moriyama's personality with the lone, wandering stray dog in one of his most famous shots (left). It is not on display but is for sale. Mr Sohey Moriyama (above left), nephew of Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama, and Museum of Art and Design gallery owner Jasmine Tay (right) at the Mad Love exhibition.PHOTOS: DAIDO MORIYAMA PHOTO FOUNDATION ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA
Part of the Shinjuku series by Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama, this black- and-white picture (right) is for sale at the Mad Love exhibition. Critics and audiences have compared Moriyama's personality with the lone, wandering stray dog in one of
Part of the Shinjuku series by Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama, this black- and-white picture (right) is for sale at the Mad Love exhibition. Critics and audiences have compared Moriyama's personality with the lone, wandering stray dog in one of his most famous shots (left). It is not on display but is for sale. Mr Sohey Moriyama (above left), nephew of Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama, and Museum of Art and Design gallery owner Jasmine Tay (right) at the Mad Love exhibition.PHOTOS: DAIDO MORIYAMA PHOTO FOUNDATION ST PHOTO: CAROLINE CHIA

Famed photographer Daido Moriyama's pictures of a naked model are part of an exhibition on love, sex and desire

The works of acclaimed Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama are on show at a provocative exhibition which invites artists to interpret the themes of love, sex and desire through art.

The nine black-and-white photographs at the Museum of Art and Design in Tanglin Road mark the first time that the 76-year-old photographer is displaying his works in Singapore.

His nephew Sohey Moriyama, 36, who washere last weekend, said: "We decided to bring my uncle's works here, as we liked the theme of the exhibition and not many people in the region have seen them."

He works for his uncle full-time, helping to post-process photographs, get them published and manage exhibitions.

The exhibition also features the works of eight other artists including Hong Kong photographer Wing Shya, who has worked as set photographer on the films of auteur Wong Kar Wai, and Swiss furniture artist Natanel Gluska, known for his rough-hewn, artistic furniture pieces.

While Daido Moriyama is often hailed as the father of street photography, the works on show here offer a different side of his art. Some of them capture an unidentified naked model in her most private moments.

One photograph is of her deep in slumber, head slumped against a pillow, visage artfully concealed by a dishevelled crop of hair falling across her face.

In another, she is upright but facing away from the camera, a silhouette shrouded in the dark, save for the flicker of a cigarette dancing near her lips.

There are also works by other artists which are more explicit, such as home-grown artist Su-En Wong's phallic painting Dildos In Display Case and Tokyo-based French photographer-artist K-Narf's photos of burlesque strip dancers from the 1930s.

Gallery owner Jasmine Tay, 48, said: "We wanted to bring Daido in because he has a lot of followers and his works capture the mood of our exhibition well. People have told us that they found Mad Love daring, that it is refreshing and uncommon in a city so clean and proper."

The exhibition carries no advisory.

Moriyama's full catalogue of works are also on sale at the exhibition. Prices range from about $5,000 for a 25cm by 30.5cm print to $19,500 for a 1m by 1.5m print.

Born in Osaka in 1938 to a travelling insurance salesman and a housewife, Moriyama taught himself photography. After he dropped out of school, he drove and hitchhiked his way through Japan in the 1960s, documenting the rapidly changing urban landscapes, industrial railways and thoroughfares that sprung up during the country's post-war economic boom.

The artistic path of the photographer, who is married to a housewife and has two daughters, mirrored that of American author Jack Kerouac, who recorded his adventures travelling across post-war America in the seminal, autobiographical novel On The Road, which Moriyama has cited as a key influence.

Mr Sohey Moriyama said: "My uncle doesn't like portraits or commercial photography. He believes in walking around to find something interesting. His career started in the streets and even now, he goes out to areas such as Shinjuku in Tokyo to shoot."

Many of the photographer's raw, grainy black-and-white images disregard framing and composition conventions. Forget the rule of thirds, some photos are barely in focus, as Moriyama shoots everywhere and anywhere: while passing by back alleys, through windows, from moving cars and sometimes literally from the hip.

His personality - aloof, nomadic and unrestrained - has often invited comparisons with one of his most famous shots taken in 1971, that of a mangy stray canine.

In an essay collection titled Memories Of A Dog, which he penned in the 1980s, he wrote: "The figure I cast during that time, roaming around town and on the back streets, carrying my camera, appeared in others' eyes very much like a stray dog."

jianxuan@sph.com.sg