Michael K. Yamaoka Photography

About Michael K. Yamaoka

About Michael K. Yamaoka
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Book: Odyssey
Poster: Rooftops of Bavaria
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Michael K. Yamaoka, photographing in New York City

MICHAEL K. YAMAOKA was born in Japan, and studied at Waseda University in Tokyo. He was the first Japanese student to receive a photography degree from Art Center College of Design in California, and came to New York in the late sixties to begin his career as a commercial photographer. He was on Staff at BBD&O before opening his own studio, where his client list included Campbell's Soup, AT&T, General Electric, Burger King, Pepsico, Dean Witter, Book-of-the-Month Club, Pillsbury, Schaeffer Beer, FAO Schwartz, Time-Life, Sheraton Hotels, Toshiba, Pentax and many others. After closing his studio in the mid-eighties, Michael became a consultant acting as a liaison between Japanese and American companies in a variety of fields. Then, after a personal tragedy, the death of his son, Kenneth Kagetaka, in an automobile accident in 1997, he decided to concentrate on his personal photography, to publish a book, Odyssey, in memory of his son, and to establish a scholarship in his name (see below). He has since exhibited in one-man shows in New York, Tokyo, Kyoto, and in many cities in Germany, to great critical acclaim, and also at the German Consulate in New York in 2007. In 2008, he was honored when I.M. Pei requested one of his photographs for his personal collection.

About my work...
These photographs, and the images in my book and poster are shots I took over many years, while going about my everyday routines—moments of time captured by my camera that will never be repeated—glimpses of a world of serenity. No matter what I was shooting, I always wanted to capture it with sensitivity, and to frame the subject to satisfy my sense of design. These images are a synthesis of my inner eye and the real world—a crystallization of light and vision. Through them, I hope to give pleasure to the many people who love looking at photography.


About The Kenneth Kagetaka Yamaoka Memorial Scholarship
Odyssey, A 35 Year Photographic Journey was inspired by, and is dedicated to Mr. Yamaoka's son, Kenneth, a brilliant young man who was killed in a tragic car accident in the summer of 1997.  A percentage of the profits from the book's sales are donated to the Kenneth Kagetaka Yamaoka Memorial Scholarship Fund, which has provided scholarships to high school seniors at John Jay High School in the Katonah-Lewisboro, NY school district for the past twelve years. The Yamaoka family also plans to establish a scholarship in Kenneth's name at Yale University, Ezra Stiles College, where he was a sophomore.

© 2010 Michael K. Yamaoka