Motohashi Seiichi, Haboro Coal Mine Haboro, Hokkaido, From The Coral Mine, 1968 © Motohashi Seiichi
Motohashi Seiichi and Robert Doisneau
Jun 16 – Sep 24, 2023
Tokyo Photographic Art Museum / TOP
Tokyo, Japan

This exhibition Chemins Croisés / Narrative Passages features Motohashi Seiichi (1940–), Japanese photographer and documentary filmmaker, and Robert Doisneau (1912–1994), one of France’s most celebrated photographers whom Motohashi admires. While tracing their paths, the exhibition will present the gaze of the two photographers who resonate with each other beyond time and region.

Born in Tokyo, Motohashi has documented the society in turmoil and the people living there through photography and film for over fifty years. On the other hand, Doisneau had always captured with his sense of humour the joy around him, using Paris and its suburbs, where he was born, as the backdrop. Although the two photographers were born in different times and places, they have coincidentally made outstanding reportages on the same subjects, such as coal mines, circuses, and markets. Having experienced the turmoil caused by World War II, they both captured the strength and richness they found in the humble but hardworking lives of people, along with the scenes that are slowly disappearing.

This exhibition, organised in special collaboration with Atelier Robert Doisneau and Pole Pole Times, features a diverse selection of Motohashi’s work from his over fifty-year career and a fine selection from Doisneau’s more than 450,000 photographs, including previously unpublished works and the collection of Tokyo Photographic Art Museum. This exhibition is also a result of an encounter between a similar idea from Clémentine Deroudille, Doisneau’s granddaughter, Motohashi as the exhibiting artist, and the museum’s program.

In today’s world of never ending confrontation and conflict, there is hope this exhibition will provide an opportunity to reflect on the richness of life through the passages created by the two photographers, as they have engaged with reality and society with their kindness, sense of humour, and gaze born out of their boundless love and curiosity towards humanity.

It is my deep love for my subjects that enables me to take their photographs. – Robert Doisneau

Photographs and videos are ideas and imaginings about your subject. – Motohashi Seiichi