“I try to search my own sense of beauty. And where I can see it, I use it as a study, thinking about what is life and what is death. It’s a big subject and I still can’t figure out what it’s about. But by observing I can sometimes feel … but I can’t really say.”
Kenro Izu was born in Osaka, Japan in 1949. During studying art at Nihon University in Tokyo, Izu visited to New York, and decided to reside there at age of 21.
After opening of Kenro Izu Studio in New York City in 1974, Izu started traveling and photographed world’s “Sacred Places” in 1979, and since then the project become his life-long work. For the projects, Izu uses 14×20 inch film camera to create Platinum Print which render the subtle nuance and capturing the spirituality of the sacred place until 2013. From2013 to 2016, A documentary project “Eternal Light” of the people who live and die in the fringe of India society by using a medium format film camera. From 2015 to 2017, a project of “Pompeii Requiem” to portray the city and people vanished nearly 2000 years ago by volcanic eruption at Pompeii, Italy. From 2017 to 2019, a project, “Fuzhou-A forgotten land” in China was completed. “Noh” project, was the first photographic project in Japan, to capture deep emotion which has been absorbed over 600 year old Noh mask.
Izu has published 16 books which include Sacred Places (Arena Editions), Bhutan sacred within (Nazraeli), Teritories of Spirits (Skira), Seduction (Damiani), Eternal Light (Steidle) and Requiem of Pompeii (Skira).
Izu is a recipient of awards and fellowship, include National Endowment for Arts, New York Foundation for Arts and Guggenheim Fellowship.
Izu’s work has been exhibited in Rubin Museum of Art (New York), Arthur M. Sackler Gallery (Washington, D.C.), Kiyosato Photographic Art Museum, (Yamanashi, Japan), Howard Greenberg Gallery (New York), Persiehl & Heine (Hamburg, Germany), In Camera Gallery (Paris, France), Fondazione Fotografia Modena (Modena, Italy), Nabshi Center (Tehran, Iran) and other museums and galleries of USA, Europe and Asia.
Aside photographic projects, during his photography trips to Cambodia in 1993, by witnessing children suffering by poverty and lack of healthcare system in the country, Izu founded a not-for-profit organization, Friends Without A Border (Friends) in New York and Tokyo, Japan. “Friends” founded and the Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) in Siem Reap, Cambodia in 1999. Since then AHC treated over 2 million children of Cambodia. In 2015, Izu and the “Friends” opened the Lao Friends Hospital for Children (LFHC) in Luang Prabang, Lao PDR to provide free and compassionate medical care to the children of Laos.