Noboru Ueki (1905–1991)

(born: 1905, Fukuyama City, Hiroshima Pref., died: 1991, Kyoto City)

The second son of Hōichi Ueki, who ran a photo studio in Fukuyama City, he studied photography in the studio of Ryūtarō Kōno in Kyoto. He was adopted into his wife’s family in 1934, taking the surname Hiroi, and in 1934 he opened the Noboru Hiroi Photo Studio (changing the name to Noboru Ueki Photo Studio in 1946) in the Karasuma district of Kyoto.

He published his work in The Photo Times and other camera magazines. He used a camera called Vestan*. In the beginning he used soft-focus and deformation technique to create ‘art photographs’, becoming a member of the Nihon Kōga Kyōkai, which was an art photography association. He also became a member of the photographic section of the Bijutsu Bunka Kyokai (Fine Art and Culture Association), entering works in its exhibitions.

Together with Yūshi Kobayashi, etc., he was one of the leading members of the Kyoto Photo Society (K.P.S.), which was founded in 1925. After the war his work underwent a major change with him using objects that appear to be influenced by surrealism to create large-scale, hand-colored works. In addition to publishing his work in Photography, Shashin to Gijutsu (Photography and Technology) and other camera magazines he also exhibited a work in the 1st International Subjective Photography exhibition, for which Otto Steinert traveled to Japan to judge. In 1969 he established a new organization named ‘Niji’ to promote the development of new photographers. He died in 1991. In 2001, members of Niji, including Yoshio Yamamoto, Isamu Tanimoto, etc., held a posthumous exhibition of his work in Osaka and the majority of the works from the exhibition were then donated to the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum.

*A standard version of Vest Pocket Kodak, which had a single meniscus lens, was so popular in Japan and was called Vestan.


“K・P・S Noboru Ueki + Yūshi Kobayashi”
September 14 – October 6, 2019


Further readings