Born in Iwata Prefecture in 1958, Naoya Hatakeyama, currently lives and works in Tokyo. He initially studied painting but changed to photography and graduated in 1984 from Tsukuba University. Already in 1983 he had his first solo exhibition at the Zeit Foto Salon in Tokyo. In this initial period, Hatakeyama primarily studied landscapes shot as pure form, without any background to clarify their meaning or scale.
According to Hatakeyama, photography is a means to see the world, comprehend the world, and ultimately to understand the relationship of the self to the world. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s Hatakeyama sought to explore this relationship in several photographic series. His best known series is ‘Blast’. Hatakeyama began photographing this series in 1995. The series was shown in the exhibition “Aspects of Contemporary Photography – another reality” held during the same year at the Kawasaki City Museum. Since then, Hatakeyama has continued to work on the series and it has been presented in numerous exhibitions in Japan and abroad. For Hatakeyama, who has created works that carefully and poetically examine nature, the cities that we have built, and the philosophies that give them form, the photographing of ‘Blast’, which is coordinated with an explosives expert who accurately predicts where the shrapnel from the blasted boulders will fly, has been an invaluable experience that has allowed him to reexamine photography’s appeal and the foundations of its technology. ‘Blast’ is an affecting testament to man’s radical and often aggressive alteration of the natural landscape. After the Great East Japan Earthquake of 11 March 2011, Hatakeyama felt that he could no longer continue to make photographs as he had done before.
In 1997 Hatakeyama was awarded the Kimura Ihei Award, followed by the Higashikawa domestic photography award in 2000, the 42nd Mainichi Award of Art in 2001 and the Photographer of the Year Award from the Photographic Society of Japan in 2003. He has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography and the Kunsthalle St. Annen in Lubeck, to name a few. Selected group shows include the Venice Biennale, the National Museum of Art in Osaka, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, the International Center of Photography in New York, and the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne.