I was born and raised in Tokyo, which is where I still live – in the downtown area, full of old tenements and traditional coffee shops.
I graduated from junior college specialising in photography, but I didn’t take up a career in photography. At the time, I only took pictures of my cat, and recreational photos when hanging out with my friends. About four years ago, inspired by my husband’s hobby of film photography, I started to take photographs on film again.
For the first three years, I was mainly taking snapshots with colour negatives. About six months ago I started to develop black and white film at home, and since then I have been shooting mostly in black and white.
About a year ago, on the recommendation of my mental health counsellor, I started staying in a hotel once a month. Initially the aim was to get away from the daily grind and refresh myself. I would bring a portable record player into the hotel and spend the night just listening to it.
Then I decided to try my hand at taking self-portraits, so I brought a tripod into the hotel and started taking pictures of myself. It was an interesting and novel experience, taking pictures of “just me”. I posed myself in whatever way I could think of and took pictures with the self-timer. It was difficult to time the self-timer shots correctly, and sometimes I took multiple shots of the same composition.
My photographic equipment was a Hasselblad and a Pentax LX. My tripod is a heavy Husky or a smaller Gitzo.
As I continued to shoot, I started to experiment more. Multiple exposures, first time using flash, wide-angle lenses in small rooms. I also started to use small objects. But I have to be careful not to stray too far from “just me”. I’m looking forward to seeing how my approach and style further change with time. In a sense, my self-portraits are a way to get to know myself better.
My self-portrait series was born out of a desire to simply have fun, a spirit of play. It’s a way to explore who I am, and how I can present myself, in an unfamiliar, unusual room.
In that same spirit, I often take pictures with the kind of gestures that a child would do. My husband once told me that he thinks I sort of transitioned from childhood to being an adult, without getting to fully enjoy my childhood. Maybe I am trying to get back to my child self.
Thanks for reading. If you’re interested, I have more photos from this series (and others) on my Instagram.