Mr. Freedom


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Limited Edition of 900 / Numbered

This is a collection of self-portraits from the series Mr. Freedom, where Tomatsu freely plays different characters as he pleases. The book also includes portraits of Daido Moriyama, Masahisa Fukase, and Nobuyoshi Araki shot by Tomatsu himself.

One day,Tomatsu-san asked me totally out of blue to let him take a photo of me.Without thinking much about it, I told him to go ahead, only to hear that he wanted me to dress up as a women for the shot. What?!Me in drag?? Although I did hesitate a moment at that thought, I eventually agreed because it seemed like fun to dress like the guys in the gay bars in Shinjyuku 2-chome that I was frequently visiting at the time. However, When he took me to a small photo studio a few days later, it turned out that the costume he had arranged for me was a wedding dress. No way! I was going to refuse, but it was too late. There I was, dressed up and with my face powdered, and all Tomatsu, you bastard!!
– Afterword by Daido Moriyama

Book Size
260 x 215mm
Publication Date
Akio Nagasawa Publishing
Japanese / English



Born 1930 in Aichi. Has been taking photographs while still enrolled at Aichi University. Moved to Tokyo after graduation, where he embarked on his career as a photographer for Iwanami Shashin Bunko.
He established the agency “VIVO” with the likes of Ikko Narahara and Eikoh Hosoe in 1959, was involved in the “WORKSHOP Photo School” founded together with Daido Moriyama and Nobuyoshi Araki in 1974, and went on to become a leading figure in post-war Japanese photography. The “Senryo” (Occupation) series focusing on people and landscapes at and around military bases, or ”11:02 NAGASAKI” (1966), a series of photos commemorating the atomic bombing, showcase his sharp observations of the signs of the times, while at once exploring the possibilities of photography.
Following his encounter with Okinawa in 1969, Tomatsu shifted the focus of his interest from military bases to expressions of abundant nature, manners and customs, and published the photo book Taiyo no enpitsu (Pencil of the Sun) (1975). Since 1999 he has been pursuing his lively photographic endeavors while based at once in Nagasaki and Okinawa. Main solo exhibitions include “Traces: 50 Years of Tomatsu's Work” at Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography (1999), “Tomatsu Shomei no shashin 1972-2002” exhibition at The National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto (2003), and “Tomatsu Shomei: Photographs” at Nagoya City Art Museum (2011), as well as numerous exhibitions overseas, such as “Shomei Tomatsu: Skin of the Nation”, which traveled around the USA and Europe until 2007 after its opening at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2004.
He died of pneumonia in 2012.

Publications of Shomei TOMATSU