Hamiltons Gallery celebrates Tomio Seike's 80th birthday with exhibition

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Hamiltons Gallery celebrates Tomio Seike's 80th birthday with exhibition
Tomio Seike, TSZ 161-5, Paris, St Germain des Prés, 1984.

LONDON.- In recognition of Tomio Seike’s long standing relationship with Hamiltons Gallery and in celebration of his 80th birthday, Hamiltons has curated an exhibition of the Japanese photographer’s most iconic images.

Tomio Seike: Eighty features a selection of unique, platinum palladium prints and vintage, toned gelatin silver prints. The subjects include portraits of artist Zoe Leonard which was one of Seike’s first series. His intimate photographs, taken as they traveled through Tokyo, London, Paris and New York, give a rare insight into her youth and the series brought him significant recognition as a photographer. The exhibition also presents Seike’s later works of figurative nudes, along his other series such as ‘Paris’ and ‘Waterscapes’, which enhanced his reputation as a contemporary master working in a classical style.

Tomio Seike was born in Tokyo, Japan, in 1943. After graduating from The Japanese Photographic Academy (1970), he went on to work freelance in fashion and portraiture before moving to England. Seike has since moved back to his native country and continues to hand print his works in Japan.

Primarily known for his black and white photographs, he has also made landscapes in colour. His sensitive play on light and composition adds a serenity to his images which defines his style and adds beauty to scenes of everyday life. By expertly balancing the abstract and traditional, using only natural light, he manages to capture the quiet moments in life most people fail to notice. These exquisite small format prints further highlight the intimacy of the scenes he captures, drawing the viewer closer to absorb every detail.

Seike’s oeuvre is widely recognised and featured in numerous international collections. His work has been exhibited throughout Europe, Japan and The United States, and reside in a number of private and public collections including; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris Tate Modern, London and the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris amongst others.

Tomio Seike remains one of Hamiltons Gallery’s longest standing represented artists.



An accute sensitivity comes across most effectively in his pictures of female nudes. These have an other-worldliness and mild abstraction; a quality that prevails throughout his work.

“I was never interested in taking pictures of models or well-known individuals, I prefer ordinary people in ordinary situations, as you see every day and every moment - nothing special.” – Tomio Seike

Upon completing his first series of nudes, exhibited at Hamiltons in 1989, Seike decided to extend the series - shooting in Paris and the U.K. - and experimenting predominantly with abstraction and size.


On New Year’s Day 1996, Tomio Seike was staying in Bath, Somerset with his wife when he came across an intriguing postcard showing a canal. Out of curiosity he set out to find it. It was a damp and very foggy day and Seike has always had an aversion to photographing in foggy conditions, but, in spite of this and the prevailing holiday mood, he was captivated by what he discovered – the play of fog and damp on the landscape - and spontaneously captured the moment with his camera. When he later printed the image, he was so enthusiastic and mesmerised with the result that what could have been considered as a one-off, a fateful accident, had this turned into the beginning of his Waterscapes series.


Seike’s picture of Paris show case the ethereal quality that prevails throughout his work. By capturing the moments often overlooked, be it a puddle on a cobbled side street or a stack of wine glasses in a restaurant, the artist attributes greater meaning to the inane and commonplace. This series conveys a strong sense of melancholy – akin to scenes of ‘la vie de bohème’ which made Paris what it is today - capturing the timeless essence of the city.

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