After graduating from the L.A. Art Center College of Design, Bruce based himself in Los Angeles. Photographing for the music, fashion, and film industries, his work took him around the world. After several visits to Japan, he settled there in 1980. LA Fantasies, Bruce's first exhibition in Japan, was a huge success and made him one of the most sought after creators in Japan. It was also the start of Ozone Inc., founded by Bruce and his wife Yoshiko to coordinate local and oversea production projects. His Oyako (parents and children) series was started 25 years ago. Since then, over 800 parents and children have been photographed, and several Oyako photo books published.
Bruce's work has been exhibited at museums and galleries including Kanazawa's 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Boston Children's Museum, Yamanashi Prefecture Museum, Kirin Plaza Osaka, and the Foreign Correspondents Club of Japan. In his work as a commercial photographer, he often does portraits of musicians and personalities, including the likes of Etta James, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Glay and Bill Gates. In addition to his still photography, he shoots & directs TV commercials and music videos. He is also a part of Futon Logic, a musical and visual performance group at the forefront of multimedia.
Five years ago, Bruce and his wife Yoshiko started a social movement called Oyako Day. Since the second Sunday in May is Mother's Day and the third Sunday in June is Father's Day, they decided the fourth Sunday in July would be a good day to honor families. Olympus Corporation was their first patron and has backed the event through the years as its main sponsor. The Japan Anniversary Association has formally recognized "Oyako Day. Every year to help celebrate this day, 100 families are invited to Bruce's studio to have their photos taken.
YAEYAMA ISLAND, JAPAN
"Islands are not about being closed off in their little world. They're a whole universe of their own, opening out into the sea."
For three years, from September 2001 to 2004, I traveled the Japanese islands with writer Hiroshi Morinaga doing articles for a monthly magazine. This was his opening line from the first article and it's been with me ever since. Now I just need to hear the word "island" for this phrase to come back to me, bringing with it all the wonder and excitement of discovery and life to be found in these island universes.
When Olympus asked me for this Photo Diary, I wanted to continue my island wandering and so I chose to visit the Yaeyama Islands.
The first half of my trip was blessed with splendid weather and I couldn't resist taking reams of sea & sun pictures. For the second part the weather went flat with clouds, rain, with only sporadic sunshine. This in fact opened the way to settling into the community of indigents and recently arrived, people who have folded themselves into the nature of these islands, and whose generosity in sharing part of their life with me allowed me to do some wonderful photography.
It was the beginning of a whole new perspective, where you drop your opportunism and try to capture the story. These islands just say fie to all that baggage bred back on the mainland. All the oh so necessary equipment, the mobiles and internet, fall off the map into the land of variable connection. You can fight it or let it slide, but life in the islands goes on just the same. For me, for just a little while, my heart was lighter. I'm thankful for that moment, for the people, the nature, and for everything I saw.
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