Ethereal and timeless, Yamamoto's works are characterised by their simplicity and economy of means, as well as a delicacy of scale, and have frequently been described as poetic or haiku-like. Works from A Box of Ku and Nakazora from the late 1980s are presented alongside larger-scale examples from the more recent series Kawa = Flow, marking the first solo exhibition of Yamamoto's work in the UK in over a decade.
Often small enough to be held in the palm of a hand, and executed in monochrome, the works are created with a conscious desire to evoke a sense of reminiscence, or of enigmatic nostalgia, as if one is encountering by chance a stranger's long-discarded family snapshot.
Originally trained as a painter and calligrapher, Yamamoto's practice continues to transcend that of photography. Individually hand-printed and toned, each photographic print becomes a unique work of art. From his early series A Box of Ku, Yamamoto has described his process of artistic intervention as deliberately creating imperfections on their surfaces, intensifying their intrigue and further asserting their nature as physical objects, rather than mere images:
"I take them out with me on walks, I rub them with my hands, this is what gives me my desired expression. This is called the process of forgetting, or the production of memory. Because in old photos the memories are completely manipulated and it's this that interests me and this is the reason that I do this work."
Taking their subject matter from the natural world, Yamamoto's photographs seek to capture momentary details that are often overlooked. He selects isolated elements of a landscape, such as a leaf, or the form of a nude appearing as fragmentary shapes. This ambiguity, combined with the works' petite scale, can almost approach abstraction and invites the viewer to look closely to interpret the images emerging from their shifting shapes. Yamamoto invites each viewer to create their own narrative whilst encountering his works, and perhaps to find a meditative stillness; an appreciation for moments of beauty and simplicity which go unnoticed in everyday life.