Tomio Seike

Atmosphere is the medium through which we see all things. In order therefore, to see them in their true value on a photograph, as we do in Nature, atmosphere must be there." (Stieglitz , A plea for art photography in America, 1892)

The Japanese photographer Tomio Seike (b 1943), has been working on his exquisite small-format, sepia toned, hand printed series, since the 70's. His work is well known, particularly in the United States and Great Britain. Tomio Seike, influenced by early photography, works on one series for a number of years before moving onto the next. In his customary unhurried pace, only 4 or 5 new images are thus created per year. His first series was a portrait of the artist, Zoe Leonard who he accompanied with his camera for 5 years. From there, he created his series on nudes, moving onto the classical theme of photographing Paris. His latest body of work are Seike's waterscapes, in which he has moved into the realm of abstraction combining both 19th Century photography and contemporary painting practice to create a highly unique vision.

It is Stieglitz's idea of atmosphere that is so important to Seike's work. Shot without a tripod and only natural light, his images capture the small, seemingly unimportant moments that seem to go unnoticed in today's hectic life. Seike's images at first sight create, or capture a meditative quietness. The longer the spectator has time to see, the more complex the pictorial structures and content of the images become. Seike's work transcends the moment of time, Roland Barthe's, so called „noeme" of photography, or timeframe, so essential to photography. His images seem to capture the phrase the "power of silence" perfectly. Seike's work allows the viewer to appreciate, feel and understand beauty, a concept often not important to contemporary art anymore. Tomio Seike lives between Brighton and Tokyo and has been exhibiting his work worldwide since the early 80's. His work is included in the following collections:

Bibliothèque Nationale (Paris), Maison Européenne de la Photographie (Paris), Houston Museum of Fine Arts (USA), Santa Barbara Museum of Art (California), Sir Elton John Collection.

Works from the Artist

See all works from the series:

  • Paris
  • Waterscapes
  • Zoe