Since graduating from the Chelsea School of Art and Design in 2004, Lieko Shiga has made four series of photographs that are unique in their inventiveness and imagery. Her work Lilly, for example, draws its influence from the early days of photography, creating ethereal and otherworldly images.
Lieko Shiga, is a Japanese born photographer, who always held a keen interest in photography. She originally enrolled on a photography course in Japan, however she found the course to be too constrained with its focus centred on technical processes and black and white photography. After taking a trip to England she discovered that there was other creative routes that could be taken, so she dropped out of her course in Japan to relocated to London.
She enrolled in a Fine Art course, at the Chelsea School of Art and Design, where she found the working environment to be more creative, allowing her to explore her own artistic practices. There were however some set-backs, she was not fluent in English and her lack of knowledge about the language and the country meant that she often felt isolated. She started to make sense of her environment by photographing the people and places around her. Her first project, Jacques Saw me Tomorrow Morning (2003-2004), was a series of photographs of her housemate, which endeavoured to capture and get to know this stranger that she was now living with.
Her methods are particularly interesting from a Lomography perspective, due to lack of money she was unable to afford expensive prints. This meant that she would take her negatives to get developed at Boots, then make 5 pence photocopies of them from a nearby off-licence. Working with the copies, she would make small incisions and cuts in the paper to make specific patterns or effects. Following this she then shine lights on the paper and re-photograph the black and white photocopies. The effects that this created are spectral, almost bordering on mystical and the processes that she developed during this time would go on to influence her later works.
After five years spent in London, she took up two residences, one in Sendai, Japan and the other in Brisbane, Australia. In the work created during these residences she focused on locations and upon arriving at her destination she asked residents to perform a questionnaire. In these questionnaires she asked individuals to identify the “darkest” and “brightest” spots, she then visited each of them trying to establish the connection between people and places; the photographs from this project came together to form the work Canary which would go on to win the Infinity Award. She is currently living in a small village in Japan and planning her next work.