At the age of 22, Yamatani was introduced to Tōmatsu Shōmei, one of the legendary founding fathers of post-war Japanese photography, who encouraged Yamatani’s intuitive approach to shooting and taught him to navigate the darkroom. He also introduced Yamatani to the art of an earlier generation of Japanese photographers, including PROVOKE contributors Moriyama Daidō and Nakahira Takuma, who Yamatani continues to cite as key influences on his work today.
Emboldened by his studies with Tōmatsu, Yamatani decided to explore street photography and moved to Osaka which he identified as a more expressive and community-oriented city than Tokyo.
In 2015, when Yamatani became a father for the first time, his photography recorded the commencement of this new phase of his life less literally. Into the Light (2017) was inspired by lonely walks around his neighbourhood in the middle of the night, having been woken by the baby. A dawning domestic sensibility made Yamatani curious about the lives of others taking place in the dark homes around him, and he began to experiment with infrared photography and its penetrative connotations.