Michael K. Yamaoka

"I am drawn to conditions of decaying beauty and the effects of time on places and structures. I’m fascinated by the similarities I find across time, culture, and locale—echoes of shape, color, and pattern. I look to portray a different idea of beauty, in details the world often overlooks."

View of Manhattan from Long Island City, Sepia - Digital photograph 36 x 24 in.

Michael K. Yamaoka Is a Clio Award-winning international photographer and recipient of numerous photography awards from the prestigious Salmagundi Club in New York where he currently exhibits, who, before he turned to fine art photography, spent many years as a commercial photographer in Manhattan, shooting for many of the Fortune 500 companies.

Born and educated in Japan, he was the first Japanese student to receive a degree in photography from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. After locating to New York, his unique approach to advertising photography attracted a clientele that included such blue-chip clients such as Pepsi-Cola, AT&T, Toshiba, General Electric, and Time-Life.

The death of his son in 1997 prompted a deep reevaluation of his creative life, and Mr. Yamaoka began to concentrate solely on his personal photography, publishing a book, Odyssey, A 35 Year Photographic Journey, and establishing a scholarship in his son’s memory. Shooting extensively worldwide, he continued to develop the themes of solitude, stillness, and singularities, in details that often emphasize the passage of time. His recent works include large-format prints featuring “Goddess” figures in locations around the world, executed in both conventional and new media.

Mr. Yamaoka has exhibited in critically acclaimed solo shows in New York at the New Art Center, the Atlantic Gallery, the German Consulate, the United Nations, and various other venues, and is an exhibiting member of the Salmagundi Club. He has been invited to mount international solo exhibitions in Tokyo, Kyoto, Nuremberg, and in fourteen cities in Bavaria, Germany, and has been featured in group shows in New York and London. Mr. Yamaoka’s work is included in private and corporate collections worldwide, and in 2008 he was honored when I.M. Pei requested a print for his personal collection.

Rapture at the Cataract - Digital photograph 36 x 24 in.
Extravagant City - Digital photograph 24 x 36 in.
Ebb Tide - Digital photograph 36 x 24 in.
Contrapunto in Venezia - Digital photograph 24 x 36 in.

This review was published by Circle Foundation for the Arts © CFA Press ∙ Images are courtesy of the artist


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