Scenes of Postwar Chicago, As Captured by a “Visual Bilinguist”
Yasuhiro Ishimoto documented the everyday rhythms of the city in striking black and white photographs.
Published Sept. 10, 2018, at 12:21 p.m.
Text by Jason Foumberg
Yasuhiro Ishimoto was called “visually bilingual” for his ability to convey similarities between American and Japanese cultures with his photography in the aftermath of World War II. Born in San Francisco to Japanese parents and sent to an internment camp in Colorado during the war, Ishimoto traveled the world on photo excursions but repeatedly returned to Chicago, where he made some of his best work. A new exhibit at the DePaul Art Museum includes more than 50 of his documentary-style images of Chicago, many from 1949 to 1951, when he was a student at the Institute of Design, and 1959 to 1961, when he was here on a Minolta fellowship.
“He came to the city during a critical time of changing demographics — immigration and migration from around the U.S.,” says assistant curator Mia Lopez. “He was a witness to that and saw parallels of his own experience and that of African Americans coming here at the same time.” Ishimoto, who died in 2012 at age 90, employed techniques he refined in design school, like using asymmetry to express inequality and finding beauty in imperfection.
Details:Yasuhiro Ishimoto: Someday, ChicagoSept. 6–Dec. 16. Lincoln Park. DePaul Art Museum. Free.