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Kenro Izu portrait

Kenro Izu with his custom 14x20 view camera


Kenro Izu portrait

Still Life 799, 1999



1949 -

Kenro Izu was born in Osaka, Japan, in 1949 and is considered one of the greatest alternative-process photographers in the world. He studied at Nihon University College of Art in Tokyo before moving to America in 1972. He spent two years working as a photo assistant in New York City and then proceeded to establish his own studio, specializing in still life photography. Since 1979, in addition to his well-established commercial work, Kenro began his serious professional commitment to his fine art photography, traveling the world to capture the sacred ancient stone monuments in their natural settings.

In 1983, Kenro Izu commissioned Jack Deardorff to build him a 14x20 inch view camera, at which point he began his "Still Life" series. Inspired by 19th-century photography, Izu's contact-prints of 8x10, 11x14 and 14x20 inch negatives on hand-coated Platinum-Palladium photographic paper are technically unsurpassed. In 2000, Izu embarked on a new series, consisting of handcrafted Platinum-based Cyanotypes. The resulting photographs from these two processes are lustrous and intricately detailed, with permanent archival qualities. Over the years, Izu has traveled and documented Egypt, Syria, Jordan, England, Scotland, Mexico, France and Easter Island (Chile). Most recently, he focused on Buddhism and Hindu monuments in South East Asia: Cambodia, Burma, Indonesia, Vietnam and India. Through them, he captures profound beauty immersed in natural states of decay.

Kenro Izu has received numerous awards and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship. Izu is a featured artist at museums nationally and abroad, some of which include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Boston Museum of Art, SF MoMA, J. Paul Getty Museum and the Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography. He is also the author of "Sacred Spaces," a collection of images from Asia. Recently Izu founded Friends Without a Border - an organization devoted to raising funds for children’s hospitals in Cambodia. Profits from select prints sales and his recent book "Light Over Ancient Angkor" are donated to this worthy cause.

Kenro Izu's work is a testament to his mastery of stillness, the darkest black and the mysteries of the platinum printing process. The stillness of ancient ruins waiting. The blackness of deep platinum jungles. The alchemical mysteries of printing dreams on paper. Skin, flowers, ruins, waiting, resting. Made slowly, simply. Dark and still. Shape and platinum. Form, flowers, skin, ruins. Waiting, slowly, slowly. Where the mind reflects on itself. Resting, make slowly, now.

~ Richard Gere


Kenro Izu - "Brushed with Light"

Kenro Izu - Still Life Series

Kenro Izu - Sacred Spaces

Kenro Izu - Nudes