Shomei Tomatsu was born in 1930 in Nagoya, Japan. He graduated from Aichi University with a degree in economics in 1954. As a economic student and a self taught photographer, Tomatsu's photographs were published by leading Japanese magazines. After graduation, he worked at Iwanami Shoten publishing agency for two years and then left to become a freelance photographer. He established VIVO, a photography cooperative along with Eikoh Hosoe and Ikko Narahara.
Tomastsu is best known for his photographs from the book Hiroshima-Nagasaki Document 1961, which reflects the social change in Japan during the post-war US occupation.
Shomei Tomatsu is featured in Sanbusaku 1 三部作