Over a period of 50 years, his work has often, obliquely reflected, changes in Japanese culture such as the American military presence and therefore the unstoppable spread of American popular culture, which has helped to forge a new nation oriented towards the consumption. His photography has recorded the often turbulent youth cultural evolutions of the time. The photographer was one of the giants of Japanese photography who reacted to a young generation of photographers who came to the fore in the late 1960s. Known as the Provoke movement, his work grabs fragments of reality far beyond the reach of pre-existing language, presenting materials that are actively opposed to words and ideas, in which materials give rise to reflections. The constant subject of Tomatsu is the collision between east and west and the cultural and moral tremors that derive from it.
SHAMEI TOMATSU IS UNDOUBTEDLY THE BIGGEST AND MOST INFLUENTIAL OF ALL THE PHOTOGRAPHERS WHO EMERGED DURING THE TURBULENT POST-WAR ERA.