Tazuko Masuyama “Until Everything Becomes a Photograph”

Izu Photo Museum

poster for Tazuko Masuyama “Until Everything Becomes a Photograph”

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Masuyama was born and raised in the village of Tokuyama, in Gifu Prefecture. After losing her husband during the war, she farmed in the village while running a minshuku (guest-house). In 1957, a plan emerged to build a dam in the quiet village of Tokuyama. Masuyama picked up a camera for the first time in her life in 1977, when the Tokuyama dam project began to take on momentum. She had just turned 60. Hoping to preserve the memory of as much as possible, Masuyama walked around the village photographing its every nook and cranny with her beloved Pikari Konika. Attracting the attention of the mass media, she became known as the “camera grandma.”

From her first shot of the town’s Sports Day, Masuyama spent nearly all of her pension on photography. She continued taking pictures even after the village was shut down in 1987 until her death at age 88 in 2006. She left behind 600 albums made from roughly 100,000 negatives. When the dam was completed in 2008 after half a century of planning, the place that had once been Masuyama’s village was submerged in water. Still, her photographs remain to tell us what this place was once like. This exhibition displays Masuyama’s photo albums, as well as her recordings of the village’s sounds and pressed flowers she made from its plants.

[Image: Tazuko Masuyama “Hazehara Branch School” (1986)]


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from October 06, 2013 to July 27, 2014
Closes at 17:00 in October, February, and March. Closes at 16:30 in November, December, and January.


Tazuko Masuyama



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