Japanese photographer Miyako Ishiuchi says of her preoccupation with scars: “I cannot stop [taking photographs of scars] because they are so much like a photograph. Both the scars and the photographs are the manifestation of sorrow for the many things which cannot be retrieved and for the love of life as a remembered present.” A contemporary of Daido Moriyama and Shohei Tomatsu, Ishiuchi made a name for herself with her elegiac photographs, which are easily recognisable for their sensuous, poetic treatment of texture and light. Growing up in the wake of World War II, Ishiuchi was profoundly affected by the presence of the American military in Japan. Her early series Yokosuka Story recorded the trepidation of new epoch in Japan, as well as the melancholy inspired by attempts to negotiate between the past and the future.

Her current and second exhibition at Michael Hoppen includes images from her early trilogy Yokosuka Story, Apartment and Endless Night, as well as prints from Hiroshima and Silken Dreams. Do not miss Hiroshima, which is the most poignant example of her artistic creed. The images of frayed garments worn by atomic bomb victims will disconcert and move any viewer. 

Miyako Ishiuchi’s show will run until 31 October.

Michael Hoppen Gallery, 3 Jubilee Place, London SW3 3TD

Images courtesy of the artist, Michael Hoppen Contemporary, London, and Third Gallery Aya, Osaka.