HEN ASPIRING PHOTOGRAPHER John Launois moved to California
in 1955, he was working three jobs to make ends meet: as a
gas-station attendant from 5 a.m. to noon, as a vacuum salesman
from noon to 4 p.m., and as an airport dispatcher till midnight.
THAT ALL CHANGED in 1956 when Black Star offered him
his first contract on assignment to Japan. And though he has
been crisscrossing the globe taking photographs ever since,
his hours are still voluntarily long.
1977, LAUNOIS spent months among Japanese Sumo wrestlers,
documenting the ritualistic ceremonies involved in their training.
His work captures more than just rich tradition, it captures
a compelling story.
AN ART DIRECTOR for Fortune described Launois' abilities
best: "Even when he gets on location and realizes that what
we are after isn't really there, he has always been able to
come up with something that has not only satisfied us, but
that is usually even better than what we thought we would get."