Eikoh Hosoe was born with the name Toshihiro Hosoe on March 18, 1933, the son of a Buddhist priest in Yonezawa, Yamagata. He is an important figure in post-war photography in Japan.
He became a free-lance photographer after training at the Tokyo College of Photography. Hosoe was interested in the dialogue between eastern and western culture, a subject that always played a central role in his work. In 1956 he had his first exhibition in Tokyo, and three years later, he co-founded the "VIVO" group together with Tomatsu, Kikuji Kawada, Ikko, and others seeking to promote concepts of modern photography and "new subjectivity".
Eikoh Hosoe worked on Kon Ichikawas’ film about the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 1964. During a trip to Barcelona that same year he became fascinated with the architecture of Antonio Gaudi and shot a series of photographs about the Spanish artist.
In 1965 Eikoh Hosoe produced a photographic documentary of the Butoh dancer Tatsumi Hijikata.
Eikoh Hosoe’s series, "Embrace" (1969-70) depicts abstract, almost transparent male and female nudes, intended to symbolize the possibility of a dialogue between man and woman. In 1984 "Cosmos of Gaudi", his first book of photographs, appeared, intended by Hosoe to show an affinity between Gaudi’s work and Zen Buddhism.
Eikoh Hosoe is mainly known for his masterful studies of nudes and details of the human form, mainly done in black and white. He also experimented with different photographic techniques of disassociation: for example, his photo titled "Witnesses of the end of the twentieth century" (1992) was made using a combination of solarisation, photogram, and Ei-Q photo design.
Eikoh Hosoe later organized a number of photography courses around the world and taught at the Tokyo Polytechnical University. He has served as the director of the Kiyosato Museum of Photographic Arts since its founding in 1995 and is the only Japanese fellow of the Royal Photographic Society.