March 4, 2012
I’ve had a couple of months to ruminate on this photography book by Rinko Kawauchi. I like to make a cup of tea and sit down with it, gently turning the pages bound with a Japanese binding technique, and admiring the way the photos have been placed together.
The pictures are varied in subject matter but all give the impression that they have been happened upon by Kawauchi during a lifetime of travelling around, camera poised to capture life through her perspective. She uses her camera’s settings skillfully and artistically, over-exposing on some to give an ethereal effect; in the case of her Japanese blossoms the images lift my spirits and bring a smile to my face each time I look at them.
Each picture subtly relates to the next, be it the echo of a shape or colour, a line of light in a swimming pool travelling across to the strips of light on a tube train; or energetic splashes of water from swimmers to the static dew droplets caught on spiders’ webs.
Then there is the light. As the title of the book suggests, light, even in the darker pictures, is the essential tool to making each picture so special. Orbs of light are scattered across the body of work, appearing at intervals like old friends, never seen to the naked eye, but caught by the camera’s lens.
The moments she captures make up the stuff of life, and with her help, we notice beauty in some of the most inconsequential of subjects. A new colour palette and way of looking at surroundings emerges, and for that, I find this book visually and soulfully nourishing.