What I am doing


2020.2.29. Sat– 3.21. Sat
12:00–19:00 (Sat 12:00–17:00 / Tue by appointment only) 
Closed on Sunday and Monday

The Third Gallery Aya is very pleased to announce an exhibition by YAMAZAWA Eiko.

YAMAZAWA Eiko, born in 1899 in Osaka and is regarded as the pioneering female photographer in Japan. She first studied Japanese-style painting, then decided to go to the US to study painting further. She arrived on the West Coast in 1926 and worked as an assistant to the photographer Consuelo Kanaga (1894–1978) while studying painting at California School of Fine Arts. After eagerly learning photographic techniques and widening her knowledge, Yamazawa returned to Japan in 1929. In 1931, she opened her own photo studio. It was successful throughout her career, with the exception of the World War II. After a long career doing commercial work such as portraits, she abandoned commercial photography entirely, closing her studio and becoming involved in abstract art in the 1960s.

In the 1980s she produced her most important series, titled What I’m doing, which was what we would today call “constructed photography”. A large-scale retrospective exhibition of her work was held at Otani Memorial Art Museum, Nishinomiya City and at Tokyo Photographic Art Museum from 2019 to 2020.

Yamazawa Eiko


1899 Born in Osaka.
1918 Graduated from Joshibi University of Art and Design.
1926 Went to America to study California School of Fine Arts and became an assistant to the photographer, Consuelo Kanaga.
1929 Returned to Japan.
1931 Established Yamazawa Studio at Dojima Building in Osaka.
1935 Yamazawa’s studio moved to Osaka Sogo Department Store.
1938 Yamazawa Eiko studio moved to Suo-cho in Osaka.
1945 Yamazawa’s Studio was burned down by heavy bombing in WWII.
1946 Worked for P.X.studio of Occupation Forces in Kyoto.
1950 Established the Yamazawa Institute of Photography in Osaka.
1952 Established the Yamazawa Studio of Commercial Photography at Osaka Sogo Department Store.
1955 Studied photography for six months in New York.
1960 Closed the Yamazawa Studio of Commercial Photography.
1965 Studied photography for six months in U.S.A and Europe.
1995 Dies.


1955 Osaka Prefecture Art Award
1977 Photographic Society of Japan Distinguished Contributions Award
1980 Kobe City Cultural Prize
1986 Iue Culture Award
Soroptimist Award
1987 Japan Inter-Design Forum Award

Solo Exhibitions

2020 What I am doing, The Third Gallery Aya, Osaka.
2019 Eiko Yamazawa: WHAT I AM DOING, Otani Memorial Art Museum, Nishinomiya City, Tokyo Photographic Art Museum, Tokyo.
2001 Yamazawa Eiko: Gallery Collection, The Third Gallery Aya, Osaka.
1996 Form and Rhythm, Verso Photo Gallery, Tokyo.
1994 Eiko Yamazawa Exhibition, Itami City Museum of Art.
Eiko Yamazawa Exhibition: Far and Near and What I Am Doing, Brain Center Gallery, Osaka.
1992 What I Am Doing: Abstraction ’92, Brain Center Gallery, Osaka.
1991 What I Am Doing: Abstraction ’91, Gallery Miyazaki, Osaka.
1986 What I Am Doing 3, Asahi Gallery, Tokyo.
What I Am Doing 3, Tamako Okazaki Gallery, Tokyo.
What I Am Doing 3, ABC Gallery, Osaka.
1983 Photographic Abstractions, Amano Gallery, Osaka.
What I Am Doing, Nagase Photo Salon, Tokyo.
Eiko Yamazawa: Abstract Photographs, Osaka Contemporary Art Center.
1982 What I Am Doing 2, Line House, Kobe.
What I Am Doing, Central Park Event Court, Nagoya.
1981 What I Am Doing, Gendai Gallery, Tokyo.
1979 What I Am Doing, Masago Gallery, Osaka.
1976 Abstraction, Rock Paint Floor, Osaka.
What I Am Doing, Shinjuku Nikon Salon, Tokyo.
1974 Japanese Folk Crafts, Sky Photo Gallery, Kobe.
1972 Abstraction and Japanese Folk Crafts, Tokyo YWCA Sadohara Center.
1967 Eiko Yamazawa Photographic Works, Kobe Daimaru.
1965 Figures and Still Lifes, Takashimaya New York.
1963 Abstraction and Still Lifes, Osaka Sogo; Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi, Tokyo.
1956 In New York, Osaka Sogo; Ginza Matsuzakaya, Tokyo.
1951 Portraits, Hankyu Gallery, Osaka.
1949 Yasue Yamamoto Costume Photographs, Osaka Asahi Hall Parlor.
1935 Seikosha, Osaka.
1932 Portraits of Creative Minds, Osaka Asahi Hall.
1929 Osaka YWCA.

Group Exhibitions

2021 The New Woman Behind The Camera, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
YAMAZAWA Eiko,OKANOUE Toshiko, ISHIUCHI Miyako 2021, The Third Gallery Aya, Osaka、Capsule, Tokyo
Paris Photo 2021, Grand Palais Ephémère, Paris
2014 Fujifilm Photo Collection: My Single Photo – A Collection of Single Photographs from Doyens of Japanese Photographic History, Fuji Film Square, Tokyo, and other venues.
2012 Paris Photo 2012, Grand Palais, Paris.
2011 Timeless – Yamazawa Eiko, Okanoue Toshiko and Ishiuchi Miyako, The Third Gallery Aya, Osaka.
Five Women’s Eyes, MSC Gallery, Doshisha Women’s College of Liberal Arts, Kyoto.
2008 Photo+Graph, Joshibi University of Art and Design Art Museum, Tokyo, and other venues.
2006 What I’m Doing: Yamazawa Eiko and Akasaki Mima, The Third Gallery Aya, Osaka.
2001 Japanese Women Artists Before and after World War II, 1930s–1950s, Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Arts.
2000 Verso Collection 4, Verso Photo Gallery, Tokyo.
Joshibi: A Centenary Exhibition, Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi Main Store, Tokyo.
Osaka City Museum of Modern Art Collection 2000, ATC Museum, Osaka.
1998 An Incomplete History: Women Photographers from Japan 1864–1997, Visual Studies Workshop Gallery, Rochester. Traveled in the US.
Corridor of the Gaze: The Lonely Maquette, Still Life Arrangement as Constructed Landscape, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.
1995 Objects, Faces and Anti-Narratives— Rethinking Modernism, Part 1: Objects, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography.
1987 Eiko Yamazawa Exhibition Produced by Yoshio Hata, Gallery Miyazaki, Osaka.
1986 Five Contemporary Artists with Eiko Yamazawa, Atelier Nishinomiya.
1982 The 3rd Kakū Tsūshin Tent Museum Exhibition, Shukugawa Park, Nishinomiya.
1981 The 2nd Kakū Tsūshin Tent Museum Exhibition, Shukugawa Park, Nishinomiya.
1980 The 1st Kakū Tsūshin Tent Museum Exhibition, Shukugawa Park, Nishinomiya.
1979 Kakū Tsūshin Exhibition, Osaka Prefectural Gallery.
1970 Kazuko Hamachi and Eiko Yamazawa: Abstraction and Still Lifes, Osaka Daimaru.
Traveled to Germany.
1961 Yamazawa Photography Study Group Works, Fuji Photo Gallery Osaka.
1936 The 10th Japan Photographic Art Exhibition, Osaka Matsuzakaya.
Traveled to Nagoya, Shizuoka, and Tokyo.
1929 The Third International Photographic Salon of Japan, Tokyo Asahi Newspaper Company.
Traveled to Osaka.


1921 Eiko Gashū (Collected Paintings of Eiko), Hoshi Publishing.
1953 Tankyū (Quest), Yamazawa Commercial Photography Studio.
1962 Far and Near, Miraisha.
1976 Abstract Photographs, Yamazawa Photography Laboratory.
1982 What I’m Doing: Positions and Directions, Miraisha.
1983 Watashi wa Joryū Shashinka (I Am a Woman Photographer), Brain Center.
1986 Abstract Photographs, Tamako Okazaki Gallery.
1994 Yamazawa Eiko Ten (Eiko Yamazawa Exhibition), Itami City Museum of Art.

Public Collections

Tokyo Photographic Art Museum
Chuo Historical Museum/ Planetarium, Tokyo
Fujifilm Corporation
Kawasaki City Museum
Nakanoshima Museum of Art, Osaka
Itami City Museum of Art
Nira Art Museum
Freer Gallery of Art Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian's National Museum of Asian Art
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