Hanako Murakami

Hanako Murakami is a young Japanese photographer, living and working in Paris. If you look her work up on the Internet, you will see … well… simple things. Minimal, often abstract, often bright, always clean, bold, calm.

Photographs of simple things usually mean a thought-through artistic statement and often need a lengthy explanation to really understand a body of work. So lengthy at times that the whole project comes across as a philosophic novel, with some insignificant photo illustrations.  Nothing wrong’s about being a deep thinker, for a photographer, but I would expect a visual artist to express their ideas using visual language, not words.

“I had heard about photographs made of potatoes and thought it strangely intriguing.” – Hanako Murakami

The great divide is especially obvious – and presents a challenge for an image-maker – in abstract art, where freedom of expression (artist) and freedom of (mis)interpretation (viewer) form an ultimate playground, for an artist and audience happy ever after. Which only happens, in reality, if an artist, with their abstract art, can convey their message, their point of view, to be interpreted, to be understood just one way, as they wanted it to be understood.  In short, if a visual artist has a message, and is able to bring it across using whatever techniques they think fit best, then it’s – potentially – something remarkable. Maybe even great.

Hanako Murakami creates something remarkable. I don’t know if it’s great, or something I remember twenty years later, but maybe I will. If you look through her Portfolio 2018  I wonder what you will think of Hanako’s work then. The document is in French, and it perfectly illustrates my thought about verbal vs visual. If you don’t understand the text, and have to deal with the images… are you intrigued? Are you intrigued enough to research further, to find out – why, what, how? I was. I am.

Hanako Murakami’s interest in photography itself, as a method of artistic expression, but also – as a historically developed technique, – is contageous. I feel like slowing down, start reading thick books on alternative photography, and making photographs where everything matters, – as it mattered once, long time ago, when making a photograph was a long process and a special event. Me too, I want to open the box in the darkroom and realize “that time does not exist inside this box.”

Technically, it’s a macro still life photography, where a “still object” is a material photograph or a plate. It inspires one to look closely – really close! – into a fascinating process of colliding light and time. On retina of a human eye, or on a photograph, with and without a camera.


Notes for myself : potato starch, autochrome plates

Inspired work