Izima Kaoru and his work which i loved to follow even prior his mega-project ”Landscapes with a corpse” has been an intriguing person to me.As an avid fan of his aesthetics and overall idea of photography as a means to create art, i consider this inter-view a treasured one.. i thank him for that.
A short bio;born in 1954 in Kyoto the Japanese photographer, Izima Kaoru, has been showing his artistic work since the late 70s in various international exhibitions and museums. He was made famous by his photo spread “Landscape with a corpse”, on which he worked between 1993 and 2008.
-I must admit i have been following your work since i came across your imagery.Did you grow up in a artistic environment?
When I was a child, “fine art” meant classic to modern represented by the artists such as Michelangelo, Rembrandt, Chagall, Picasso and so on.
I myself never thought the photography was to be considered as fine art when I first started to think of it as my career. I simply aimed to create images I’d never seen, or images I wanted to see through photography.
-Most people know you from your editorial work yet many more from your project “”Landscapes with a corpse”.What inspired you to create it?
Back then, when I worked as a fashion photographer, I thought I could bring a new point of view in fashion photography by visualizing an accident or murder scene with the model playing dead in it. Because while there’s no doubt that all lives die in the end, I though it would be meaningful to make one of the most important moment in life into one scene of fashion photography. Unfortunately, such idea of mine was never accepted in Japan, or in fashion photography. And ironically enough, it was accepted in the West as fine art, later.
-As a Japanese,do you find japanese art influencing your work?
Not only Japanese art but all forms of expression: art, fashion, films etc., from all over the world had influenced me. I don’t think Japanese art weighs amongst those. But I live in Japanese society for all my life. This means I am constantly under the influence of Japanese culture and society. And my thought and emotion in such influence are reflected in my work.
-So,what’s for next?A few words on your recent project/exhibition
I introduced a new series “You are beautiful” this year.It expresses my understanding towards my own question for the one-sided idea of beauty and sense of values of Japanese people, that we tend to obtain unconsciously, especially those through the visual expressions. In other words, I thought the aesthetic which we obtain by trying to avoid the reality, how to cover the reality might be wrong. It could be keeping ourselves away from our essential aesthetic point of views and I wanted throw a question and ask the world how my aesthetic point of view would look.
My aesthetic point of view, through a human being without anything on, just lying down and exposing the body defenselessly. There are nothing to decorate the body, no digital modification. Just an extremely enlarged, unvarnished skin, with wrinkles, stains and even scars. It could look ugly from one point of view and something to be covered, decorated or retouched. But if you take a close look at, everybody can see the fact that is is one beautiful figure of human being. At least I can see that.
The title “You are beautiful” expresses my message for all people.
Izima Kaoru ”You Are Beautiful’‘, Al Kowada Gallery Exhibition
Contemporary Photography Research Preparatory