Do you know Mari Katayama? She is a prominent artist based in Japan and was nominated for this year's Ihei Kimura Photo Prize. When I first saw her portraiture, I was deeply moved. So, I visited Ota City, Gunma Prefecture, the town where she lives for an interview. In this article, I'll be sharing my conversation with Katayama and some portraits of her that I took at the Ota City Art Museum and Library.
Nakai: In your early works, "in my room" and im wearing little high heels, you created impressive portraits shot within a room. Recently, you've been making them outdoors, too. Is there a reason behind it?
Katayama: The Naoshima exhibition is a big reason. While I was working in Naoshima, I became friends with locals. I got invited to various places and took portraits. I had my own rules when I do self-portraits in my room until now, but it gradually collapses. Now, I am beginning to enjoy taking pictures outside.
Nakai: Your portrait at the big bridge is impressive.
Katayama: I was born and grew up in Ota City, Gunma. You'll have pass to pass by that bridge whenever you go to cities like Kumagaya or Tokyo. Whenever that happens, it makes me feel like: "Get out of Ota City."
Nakai: As you went out of the room, your work also expanded. I feel growth. Do you have a place or photograph that you like?
Katayama: Naosima and Maebashi City. Working here means being surrounded and cooperating with friends. My way of shooting has not changed, but as I have children I started to take pictures of myself from another perspective.
Nakai: Please tell me about the charm of film photography.
Katayama: I thought that I might be using digital for once. Since my baby was born, I came to think that film is good. When thinking about leaving a picture, I think that the film is still no. 1. It is hard to produce photographs on film, but I also like that it's simpler than digital.
Nakai: Do you know Lomography?
Katayama: I'm aware of Lomography but I do not have a broad knowledge. I have a medium format camera. I do not care much about the camera itself, but the Hasselblad that I am using has broken. I am looking for my next camera.
Nakai: Today, I brought a Lomo LC-A for the shoot and also sample photos of taken with the LomoChrome Purple.
Katayama: It's heavier than I thought. It's small and surprisingly solid. The shutter sound is also cute, is it not? I want to use it! It seems interesting to use with the LomoChrome Purple film.
Nakai: Do you want to use a Lomography product in the future?
Katayama: I'd love to use it. Now, I would like to try out various films and cameras! I will take self-portrait by myself. Do Lomography cameras have a timer or a remote switch?
Nakai: There are cameras with release such as Lomo LC-A series. Recent Lomo'Instant cameras have timer and remote switch.
Katayama: I am shooting in the downtown area at night today. I would like to use Lomography camera for portraits and snaps!
Nakai: Please tell us about your future exhibitions and projects.
Katayama: At the beginning of next year, I'll have an exhibition at a gallery in UK. There are plans to have one in United States, too. I will prepare and shoot for the exhibition this year. Then, I'll publish a collection of work and a zine!