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Number 1 Shimbun

Exhibition: Kao

Actor Masato Ibu.


photographs by Shintaro Shiratori


ONE DAY I FOUND a book of portraits entitled Who’s who in Shinano by my great grandfather Itarou, which was published in 1908. When I turned the pages, I was impressed by his ingenious lighting technique. I realized that it was all about light and shadow. My encounter with this old book affected my portrait works. It made me feel that portrait photos are not only records but can also be an art form.

I’ve shot numerous portraits for advertising clients that are no longer used after the advertising campaign ends. I felt that I shouldn’t let these photos – which I poured my heart and soul into – be left unknown. I added around 100 more new portraits, especially of the dankai (baby boomer) generation who have contributed to the country’s prosperity and are now in their late 60s and facing retirement.

For the past three years I’ve photographed these people. Their faces overwhelmingly communicate vitality and enthusiasm for the future. I sincerely hope that the messages from the Kao Project will encourage people and bring positive thoughts. Lastly, I’d like to express profound gratitude to the people who kindly participated and cooperated with this project.

Singer, dancer and actress, Natsuki Mari


Shintaro Shiratori was born in Nagano Prefecture. In 1971, he joined Shiseido Photographic Studio and later joined the photography department at Hakuhodo. In 1983, he established Shiratori Photo Studio. He has received numerous awards for his work. Recently he published a sequel to his book KAO, whose portraits are the subject of this month’s exhibition.

Published in: August 2016

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