Hiroshi Watanabe

Born in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan, he graduated from the Department of Photography of Nihon University in 1975. Hiroshi moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as a production coordinator for Japanese television commercials and later co-founded a Japanese coordination services company. He obtained an MBA from the UCLA Anderson Business School in 1993. Two years later, however, his earlier interest in photography revived, and he started to travel worldwide, extensively photographing what he found intriguing at each moment and place. As of 2000, Hiroshi has worked full-time at photography.

After he produced five self-published books, his first collection to be published conventionally was I See Angels Every Day, monochrome portraits of patients and scenes from San Lázaro psychiatric hospital in Quito, Ecuador. This work won Japan’s 2007 Photo City Sagamihara Award for professional photographers. In 2009 he received a commission from the San Jose (California) Museum of Art to document from an artist’s perspective subjects of my choice relating to the city’s Japantown. He decided to photograph artifacts from the Japanese internment camps established during the Second World War. In 2016 he received a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation which allowed him to make his latest work, Kwaidan, Stories and Studies of Strange Things, a new edition book of classic short, Japanese, horror stories written by Lafcadio Hearn over a century ago, visually revitalized by accompanying photographs by Hiroshi Watanabe.