Journey into the heart of a Japanese woman’s photography (日本語付き)

Coming across my favorite photography might be a result of accident. In other word, not consciously looking for your favorite photography would be the shortest way to meet good photography. When I first saw a series of Portrait of Second-hand Clothes which Yuki Onodera took photograph, many stuff fully moved me without prior knowledge of her background. At the beginning of 90’s in Japan it happened that many women photographers appeared. New term so-called “girl photograph” came into being against male-dominated photography community. Along with like this historical background, Yuki Onodera made a debut as photographer. Despite she was born in Tokyo and grew up in Japan, latterly in 1993 began to work based in Paris. Yuki Onodera tells the reason why one artist working in Europe. Europe has been comprised of many different countries and cultures. And Paris has functioned as crossroads which mean that many people in Europe passing through Paris. Furthermore she makes a point that it’s important for artists to view native country through being as foreigner.

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Through seeing her photograph many people grasp her works as mysterious. It has been referred in her own words that there’re parts of vague at the process of her work. It would be hard to explain it though, she tries to pick it up sensuously. With the passing of the years it sometimes happens that she finally calls to her mind that idea contained like that meaning she’s never came up with at the process. That’s one that meaning of idea sometimes comes after.

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It also comes to appear her sensitive part at the process of a series of Portrait of Second-hand Clothes when she shortly moved to Paris. She tells the story about its background. When she was thinking about photographic subject which is not Portrait but something different, she grasped second-hand cloth as feel like human’s shell. At the same time it took place that Christian Boltanski who is representative of french contemporary artist exhibited his works used a pile of second-hand cloth, she got herself down to his exhibition. At his show a bag was being sold 10-franc, spectator can leave with full of second-hand cloth in the bag. That is art installation that second-hand clothes assembled over the world are carried to another different place. She put its second-hand cloth hung with support like wire by the window of her apartment.

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Through browsing her working process, opposed to my first impression that I see her work having lyrical description, she is interested in photograph in itself than making image. She tells that she explores that photograph is deeply influencing our knowledge and perception. At the same time two questions have appeared: what is photography, and what can be done through it? I thought I step into different dimension of photography not dimension of making image.

Written by Ryota Umemura  for International Foundation for Women Artists.
Learn more about Yuki Onodera here.

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Written in Japanese :

私にとって好きな写真と出会うことは、偶然の産物が生み出すものかもしれない。他の言葉で言い換えると、意識的に好きな写真を探さないことが素敵な写真に出会う近道だろう。オノデラユキの「古着のポートレート」に初めて出会った時、予備知識なしに私の心を動かしました。90年代の初頭、日本に数多くの女性フォトグラファーが誕生し、男性が支配していたフォトグラファーの世界に対し、その新しい潮流を表わす言葉としてガールズフォトが生まれました。このような時代背景をもとに、オノデラユキは写真家としてデビューします。

彼女は東京で生まれ育ちますが、1993年にパリを拠点に活動し始めます。ここで活動初期からパリを拠点に活動する彼女にとって、アーティストとしてヨーロッパや海外で活動する理由を述べています。ヨーロッパは多様な国と文化で構成され、パリは多くの人が通過するクロスロードとしての機能を持ち合わせ、また自分が育った国を客観視することは、ものづくりをする人にとって必要であると語っています。彼女の作品を見た多くの人は、オノデラユキの作品を「謎」や「不思議さ」として捉えている。また彼女の言葉の中にも作品を制作していく過程で、自分でも曖昧で説明できない部分があり、感覚的に選んでいることがあり、何年か経ってこんな意味も含まれていたのだとようやく思い当たることがあると語っています。

パリに拠点を移した直後に制作された「古着のポートレート」のプロセスにも彼女の感覚的な部分が見えてきます。ポートレートではなく、何か違うものでと考えている時、人間の抜け殻になるような感じとして古着が目に付いたと彼女が作品制作の始まりについて語っています。またその同時期にフランスを代表する現代アーティストのクリスチャン・ボルタンスキーが古着を使った展覧会を開催し、そこに彼女は足を運びます。会場では10フランで袋が販売され、古着を詰めて帰れる。世界各国から集められた古着が、また違う場所へと散っていくというインスタレーションである。彼女はこの会場から持ち帰った古着を針金のような支持体にかけて、アパートメントの窓際に置いて写真を撮っていきました。

彼女の制作過程を通し、私が思い描いた彼女の作品から感じたリリカルさとは反対に、彼女の写真に対する見方はイメージ創出よりも写真それ自体に興味があります。それは、私たちの知識、認識に写真が大きく影響を与えていることに対する探求であると彼女は語っています。写真とは何か、 写真を通して何が可能か、私はイメージ創出としての写真とは別の世界に足を踏み入れたのだと思う。

Written by Ryota Umemura  for International Foundation for Women Artists.
Learn more about Yuki Onodera here.

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Hea Lin Kwon: A Korean Photographer

Interviewed and Translated by Ji-In Kim, Edited by Richard Sanchez

“I am inspired by the characteristics that make up the places, by the scent of the place and uncontrollable sunlight, and by the inexpressible tension between the camera and the models.”

-Hea Lin Kwon

Hea Lin Kwon

Tell us about yourself.

I am majoring in textile design at KonKuk University in Seoul, South Korea. Also, I am constantly writing and working on my ‘linnn’ blog.  I want to widen the field of my work. I also am very interested in music, media, and writing, as well as photos.

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Tell us about your artwork.

I try to express the pureness of youth through my photos. My photos tend to be edited quite a lot even though they convey innocence. But I like to find real pureness through the work, not just superficial pureness.

Where does most of your inspiration come from?

The most important thing is the places where I take photos. I usually take photos in natural settings, so I am often inspired by finding appropriate sunlight. In addition, I am inspired by the characteristics that make up the places, by the scent of the place and uncontrollable sunlight, and by the inexpressible tension between the camera and the models.

Are there any preparation before working?

I try to talk a lot with models before taking photos, especially if it is their first time working with me. This is because it makes me feel more comfortable preparing and planning something and to take pictures that proceed the work.

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Do you direct the models into certain poses?

In order to respect the natural feelings of the models, I don’t demand certain poses. My photos usually depend on the values and natural poses of the model. I don’t want to just make a frame. I just want to take photos with own my vision combined with the naturalness of the models. I proceed to photograph according to the attitudes of the characters and their motions. I would like to take pictures expressing my vision through the figures or motions that only the models can reveal, rather than dictating their frames.

Do you have any favorite artists?

I respect Matthew Tammaro, Jill Greenberg. In Korean artists, I respect Jeong Rok Lee, Myung-Ho Lee and Jung Lee of ‘photography-art project’. Pictures taken after the direct installation gives people bigger impressions. I admire the passion that they spend a long time making the installation. I have a lot of artists who I also like. I love the works of artists that use unique colors, especially their unique philosophy and freshness.

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Tell us about your working process.

I try to capture the light that exists at the moment of shooting when I select my photos. After taking photographs, I try to preserve the tones of the photos. Then I cut out or erase the distractions in the image.

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Do you have artists who inspire you?

I have been inspired more by artists of the various fields, especially artworks or music, than by the pictures. I mostly try to transform invisible things into visible things.

Are there any special considerations before shooting?

Because models in my photos are usually revealing, there is an effort to make sure the photos are not obscene. I take pictures respecting the values ​​and the natural movement of the model. Also I prefer the models that withhold most emotions in an expressionless face.

What do you consider when choosing shooting locations?

I usually choose a place to shoot in natural areas. I think nature is the optimal place that harmonizes with the natural movements of the models.

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Do you have your favorite color?

I do not favor any particular color because I think a photographer should not have prejudices of colors. However, I often use pink and teal to reveal my vision that I want to show. Pink means pureness and female ss the combination of red and white. It also signifies femininity.

And the teal is the mix of green and blue, which means land and sea. Therefore, there are a lot of photos where female models are in nature so as to express that a girl faces the nature with pink and teal.

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Tell us about the plans for the future

I plan to exhibit and publish while I keep working in photography. I think I will continue to study and explore photography in order to to better show my authentic vision through photographs.


Original Interview in Korean:

작가설명

건국대학교 디자인 학부를 다니고 있고 현재 linnnn 페이지에서 꾸준하게 글과 사진작업을

이어가고 있으며 향후 작업의 분야도 점점 넓혀갈 생각입니다. 저는 사진 외에도 음악, 영상, 글에

관심이 많습니다.

작품설명

저는 주로 청춘의 솔직한 모습을 사진을 통해 드러내는 작업을 하고 있습니다. 제 사진은

솔직함을 담는 사진 치고는 연출이 많이 되는 편입니다. 하지만 그로 인해 보이는 대로의

솔직함이 아닌 진정한 솔직함을 찾는 작업을 하고 싶습니다.

어디서 영감을 받나요?

촬영 현장에서 주로 영감을 받습니다. 주로 자연에서 촬영하는 경우가 많기 때문에 제가 조절하는

빛이 아닌 적당한 햇빛을 찾는 것에서 영감을 받기도 합니다. 또, 그 안에 만들어지는 요소들,

모델과 카메라 사이의 설명할 수 없는 긴장감, 그 속에서 흐르는 숲의 향기에서 영감을 받습니다.

사진을 찍기 전에 준비하는 것이 있나요?

특히 처음 만나 작업하는 모델의 경우에는 소통을 많이 한 후에 촬영하려고 노력합니다. 무언가를

준비하거나 계획하고 작업을 진행 할 경우 촬영하기엔 편하긴 합니다. 하지만 사진이 인위적이게

되는 것을 피하기 위해 자연스럽게 진행하려고 합니다.

모델에게 보통 어떠한 포즈를 취하라고 말하는 편인가요?

모델의 본연의 모습을 존중하기 위해서 정해진 포즈를 요청하지 않는 편입니다. 저는 그 인물의

가치관과 그 모습에 따라 흐르는 동세를 위주로 촬영을 진행합니다. 제가 틀을 만들어 주는

것보다, 그 인물만이 보여줄 수 있는 모습과 나만이 보여줄 수 있는 시선으로 하나의 프레임을

담아내고 싶습니다.

좋아하는 사진작가나 프로젝트가 있나요?

Matthew Tammaro, Jill Greenberg 를 존경하고, 한국 작가로는 주로 ‘photography-art project’의

이정록, 이명호, 이정 작가님을 존경한다. 직접 설치 후 촬영이 이루어져 보는 이들에게 더 큰

감동을 주고, 오랜 시간과 공을 들여 설치를 한 후 의미를 담아내는 열정을 존경합니다. 그 외에도

좋아하는 사진작가는 다 쓸 수도 없이 정말 많습니다. 확실한 철학을 갖고 있거나, 특유의 색감,

새로운 시선을 갖고 있는 작가들의 작품에 많은 매력을 느끼는 편입니다.

편집과정에 대해 간단히 말해주실 수 있나요?

촬영 후에, 우선 선택과정이 끝난 후에 촬영할 때 나왔던 톤을 살리려고 합니다. 또한 표현하고자

하는 바에 방해가 되는 것들을 잘라내거나, 지우는 작업들을 하기도 합니다.

자신의 인생에 영향력을 끼친 아티스트가 있나요?

오히려 사진보다는 다른 매체의 아티스트들에게 영향을 많이 받았습니다. 회화 작품이나, 특히

음악에서 많은 영향을 받았고, 이러한 비가시적인 영감들의 가시화를 많이 합니다.

사진을 찍기 전에 특별히 신경 쓰는 것이 있나요?

제 사진은 모델의 노출이 많기 때문에 모델을 선정적으로 촬영하지 않는다는 조건이 있습니다.

그 외에는 그 인물의 가치관과 모습에 따라 흐르는 동세를 존중하며 촬영을 진행합니다. 또한

무표정에 가장 많은 감정을 담을 수 있는 모델을 선호합니다.

어떤 기준으로 장소를 정하나요?

촬영장소는 주로 자연 속에서 택합니다. 그 이유는 자연이 모델 본연의 솔직한 모습과 어우러지기

위해 최적화된 공간이라고 생각하기 때문입니다.

특히 좋아하는 색감이 있나요?

사진가로서 색에 편견을 가지면 안 된다고 생각하기 때문에 특정 색을 좋아하진 않아요. 하지만

제 시각을 드러내기 위해 주로 쓰는 색감들이 있는데, 분홍과 청록 입니다.

분홍은 빨간색과 흰색의 조화이며 여성과 순수를 의미하고 그것은 또한 소녀를 의미합니다.

그리고 청록색은 파랑과 녹색의 배합이며 바다와 대지를 의미합니다. 그래서 분홍과 청록으로

소녀가 자연과 마주하는 것을 표현하고자 자연이 배경이고 모델이 여성이 경우가 많습니다.

앞으로의 계획에 대해서 말씀해주세요.

꾸준히 사진 작업을 하면서 전시, 출판에 대한 계획이 있습니다. 피사체의 본연의 모습을

존중하고, 나의 시선을 솔직하게 담아내기 위해서 사진에 대한 이해와 공부를 이어나갈

생각입니다.

Learn more about Hea Lin Kwon here. Check out her Facebook page, too!

Presented by the International Foundation for Women Artists.