Hiroshi Watanabe was born in Sapporo, Japan. He graduated from Department of Photography, College of Art, at Nihon University. He moved to Los Angeles after graduation and became involved in the production of TV commercials, eventually working as a producer. He later established his own production company. He received an MBA degree from UCLA Business School in 1993. In 1995 his passion for photography rekindled, and since then he has traveled worldwide extensively, photographing what he finds intriguing at that moment and place. In 2000 he closed the production company in order to devote himself to the art and became a full time photographer.
Since then, his work has been exhibited and published in many parts of the world. His awards include International Photography Awards (2003), Black & White Spider Awards (2004, 2005), Photolucida Critical Mass Book Award (2006), Sagamihara Photo Award (2007), Santa Fe Center Project Competition First Prize (2008), and Hearst 8×10 Photography Biennial (2009). His work is in the collections of Philadelphia Museum of Art, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, George Eastman House, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, J. Paul Getty Museum, and San Jose Museum of Art.