Tahara was born in Kyoto. He learned photographic techniques at an early age from his grandfather, who was a professional photographer.
In 1972 in France, he encountered a sharp, harsh and piercing light that he had never experienced in Japan while he was traveling Europe with Red Buddha Theater, where he was a lighting and visual technician. Since then, he remained in Paris for next 30 years and started his career as a photographer.
His first series of work “Ville (City)” (1973–1976) captured the unique light in Paris in black-and-white photography. His next series of work “Fenêtre (Windows)” (1973–1980) awarded the best new photographer by Arles International Photography Festival in 1977 and he moved into the limelight.The following year, he started the new series “Portrait” (1978), then “Eclat” (1979–1983) and ”Polaroid” (1984) and received number of awards such as Ihei Kimura award (1985).
His morphological approach to light has extended to sculpture, installations, and other various method crossing over the genre of photography. In 1993, in moat of the Castle of Angers (1993), the first light sculpture in France, "Fighting the Dragon” (1993) was installed.
His representative work is Garden of Light (Eniwa, Hokkaido, 1989) where light sculptures are installed in a public space that is covered by a meter of snow six months of the year. The light changes in response to music and presents a space of poetic dimensions. Based on the same concept, in the year 2000, Echos du Lumières was installed in the Canal Saint-Martin, commissioned as a public space project by the City of Paris. The spectacle colors from the prisms illuminate the stone wall synchronizing with the sounds.
Others are permanent outdoor installation “Niwa (Garden)” at the Photography Museum in Paris ( Maison Europeenne de la Photographie) in 2001, “ Prtrail de Lumiere” installation as a part of European Capital of culture event “ Lille 2004” in 2004, and “ Light Sculpture” exhibition at Tokyo Metropolitan Teien Art museum in 2004.
In 2008, Ginza 888 building was built by his total produce, art direction of the Museum of Islamic Art and he published a photography book.
Tahara continues to produce a number of light installation projects in urban spaces.