Picture of the Week: Minoru Yamasaki, 1979 by Taro Yamasaki

July 21, 2023

Minoru Yamasaki, 1979, archival inkjet print, 12 3/4 x 18 3/8 in.

Taro Yamasaki is a Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist. He was born in 1945 in Detroit. Yamasaki knew early in life that journalism was the path for him, as he was inspired by his parent’s dedication to social justice. He attended journalism school at the University of Michigan; While there, Yamasaki discovered that he could tell stories with more emotional impact through photography than with writing. He started his career in 1977, when he was hired by chief photographer Tony Spina to work as a staff photographer for the Detroit Free Press. He worked for numerous national magazines from 1984 to 2005 but primarily for People, which reached 30 to 37 million viewers per issue. Moreover, his career has taken him all over the world, telling stories of everyday people achieving astounding feats, despite the challenges of war, disease, and racial, sexual, and class discrimination. Since 2005, Yamasaki has been pursuing projects on issues such as human trafficking, undocumented workers, migrant farm workers, and children impacted by war and environmental disasters.

Yamasaki photographed this portrait of his father, Minoru Yamasaki in 1979, near the beginning of his career. Minoru smiles and leans back on the couch in a relaxed pose, resting his head against his hand. Yamasaki blurs the furniture and room decor to draw the viewer to Minoru. This photograph illustrates the admiration Yamasaki has for his father. Minoru Yamasaki was a successful architect whose legacy is evident across the campus of Wayne State. As an independent practitioner, he was an integral figure in the master planning work for the McGregor Memorial Center (1958), the Education Building (1960), the Prentis Building (1962-64), and the DeRoy Auditorium (1962-64). In addition to his contributions to Wayne State’s campus, Minoru is most well known for his work on the World Trade Center, which his firm was commissioned for in 1963. While Taro Yamasaki’s photography career was just beginning at the time, he captures this portrait closer to the end of his father’s career; 1979 was the same year that Minoru Yamasaki published his autobiography, A Life in Architecture. Yamasaki captures a more intimate moment of his father. He is seated in what may be his living room. This is a scene of Minoru Yamasaki that the public likely did not see often. While the world knew him as a successful architect, Taro Yamasaki knew his father on a much more personal level.

Written by Angela Athnasios

Sources: https://taroyamasaki.com/biography/#




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