Yasuhiro Wakabayashi was born to Japanese parents in Shanghai in 1930, and arrived in New York City in 1954, where he began his photographic training as an assistant to Richard Avedon. Through Avedon’s introduction, Hiro started working under renowned art director Alexey Brodovitch at Harper’s Bazaar in 1956. Hiro’s fashion and editorial career quickly flourished, and by 1963 he was the only photographer under contract with the magazine – a position he enjoyed for the next ten years. Now in his mid-80s and no longer under contract, Hiro continues to take assignments with the magazine that reinforce his status as a creative conceptualist and exquisite craftsman.
Infused with an elegant sense of Surrealism, Hiro's images embrace the use of bold color, dynamic design, experimental lighting, and unconventional compositional juxtapositions to transport viewers to illusory realms where the boundaries between genres disappear. Whether photographing The Rolling Stones, Tokyo subway commuters, fighting fish, the 1969 Apollo 11 spaceship launch, or a baby’s foot, Hiro approaches his subjects with a distinctly metamorphic vision.
Hiro’s photographs are held in the permanent collections of institutions worldwide, including George Eastman House, Rochester, New York; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Kobe Fashion Museum, Japan; Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; National Portrait Gallery, Washington, D.C.; Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo; and Victoria and Albert Museum, London, among others.