Art Term

Provoke Era

Provoke was a Japanese magazine which rejected glossy commercial imagery and the style of documentary photography. The Provoke era refers to its influence on photography made in post-war Japan

Yutaka Takanashi
Toshi-e (1974, printed 2012)

Following the decimation and rebuilding of Japanese society after the Second World War, photography played an important part in a new self-definition of Japanese visual style, set apart from Western influences.

Provoke was a magazine with only three issues in the late 1960s, but its influence continued into the 1970s and 80s. It set itself apart from the photojournalistic style of the day, looking for a more subjective voice and validation of the person behind the camera. The images are often grainy and disorderly, reflecting the social and political upheavals taking place across the nation. It also constrasted with the glossy imagery of commercial magazines.

Takuma Nakahira and Yutaka Takanashi were founding members of the Provoke group. Daido Moriyama joined a little later, bringing with him his early influences of Cartier-Bresson, but with a desire to be a witness with more self-expressive intent.

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provoke era at tate