Barking (For Tad Yamashiro)

158367662.1irfZPDG._DSF4468E 161155382.BW0Uhpub._DSF1168 161155383.pYyhRZeW._DSF1171 161155384.lnMxqYFw._DSF1282

Tad Yamashiro was one of three wonderful mentors I had within my photographic education. Tad was originally the assistant to Diane and Allen Arbus when they had their commercial photo studio before separating and following their own artistic paths. Allen became a well known actor. Diane as we know, became a well known photographer. Tad opened his own successful studio until he decided to follow his own photographic calling, supplementing by teaching at the School of Visual Arts. This is where I met him.

Tad was a powerful personality. Many students warned me against taking his class. Those that remained, said he was wonderful. You’ll never be the same. None of this fortunately scared me off. For me, listening to him was listening to my heart and soul, though as a young man, I could not express as succinctly as him. His class was not about technique. His class was about the images you placed upon the wall and what was filled in, that space between the viewer and the image. My imagery was much more abstract then, but most importantly, it taught me not to be afraid of the emotional interior within. Therein lies your truth. That which is yours and yours only.

Published by Keith Goldstein

Photographer, husband, dad, and passionate cyclist. Lives and works in New York City.

14 thoughts on “Barking (For Tad Yamashiro)

  1. Meeting a teacher who inspires you and makes you feel confident as your professional self is one of the most empowering experiences one can have. I was lucky enough to meet that kind of teacher as a young doctor, a bit more than a decade ago, and from your description of Yamashiro, I was instantly reminded of my professor back then, although For many reasons I don´t work with him anymore. How wonderful you pay your mentor such amazing tribute with your beautiful photos today.

    1. Thank you Sabine for your comment.
      There is nothing like having a teacher that inspires. Tad’s words still ring true for me to this day. It didn’t matter what you did or for how long, as long as it was “forever” and it spoke your “truth”.

  2. I also studied with Tad Yamashiro, and found him to be all that you described and more. Studying with Tad was more like an experiential exercise than a “class”. It was emotional learning about yourself, what it meant to capture an image, to live a life around such an activity. His singularly focused purist philosophy shaped my artistic sensibility, that is; if you were looking to truly explore your creative interior, it required full, free artistic expresso. He believed you had to be fully dedicated to the process itself, without the distraction of commercialism…”you could not do both”.

    1. You are absolutely right. One can not do both! I still remember that day Tad said that. I knew my direction, I knew I had to go that direction.
      Yes, I knew I would not make a living doing what I love to do.

  3. Keith,
    It was sad to read about his passing. I was one of his students. He was a great influence to me.

  4. Sorry to read of the passing of Tad Yamashiro…Tad was the man.Inspirational and a great influence.Teach to think ,see and wonder..The last day of class he showed me his work..A catalog of silverware he shot for a client,He told me he made enough money on that one job to buy his home…Shortly after that I went to work at Avedon,..There was no comparison Tad was by far the better teacher.

    1. Tad never showed us his commercial work, but talked of it sometimes. He was very involved and dedicated to his personal work, and also his daughter Emma. We lived 4 blocks from each other and I would run into him many times. I miss our conversations.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: