Tuesday, May 28, 2013
"Kayo Ume's photos filled with mischievous affection"
From The Japan News, 5/28/13:
By Shinji Inoue / Yomiuri Shimbun Staff Writer
A middle school girl covers her head with underwear in her room. Another girl tries to urinate like a boy. They are part of the honest, mischievous and affectionate depictions of the world of girls by photographer Kayo Ume.
Ume, 32, is known for using a sympathetic eye to take photos of amusing but often overlooked moments in the daily lives of children and adults.
An exhibition of about 570 of Ume’s photos is being held at the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery through June 23. This is her first solo exhibition at an art museum and includes some large pieces and others on display for the first time.
The exhibition, Kayo Ume: Umekayo, opens with a series of large photo panels bearing the images of middle school girls who laugh at each other’s adolescent curiosity about sex. These photos were taken in 2000-2001.
“I think these photos depicting ordinary girls’ real lives may be shocking for middle-aged, business suit-clad men,” said a smiling Ume.
A native of Ishikawa Prefecture, she was first acclaimed for her photos of a primary school boy who is rolling his eyes and boys who are lying down in the street. She called these boys “invincible.”
In 2007, she received the prestigious Kimura Ihei Award for photography for her Umeme collection.
Her photos are always taken from a journalistic viewpoint.
However, as crimes involving children are increasing and the public is growing more and more wary, she has been more careful and considerate in approaching children to photograph, according to Ume. So before taking photos of children, she usually builds a good relationship with young children of her female acquaintances and these children’s friends.
Ume in 1998 began taking photos of her grandparents and family members who live in her hometown of Noto. She named these photos the Jichan-sama (Long Live Grandpa!) series.
At the venue, the inner walls of a special space built for the exhibition are filled with these photos. The series includes photos illustrating her younger sister’s growth, marriage and childbirth and her grandmother’s death. It is a record of her family history that is changing as time passes.
“I take photos that I can look lovingly at,” she said. “Recently, my viewpoint has become that of a mother.”
The exhibition will also be shown at The Niigata Bandaijima Art Museum in Niigata from March 15, 2014.