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Japanese photographer Miya Kishimura pulls you into a dark world of fantasy from which it is difficult to escape. A school girl in uniform with desperate eyes. The same girl with grotesque make-up. In another shot she lies on the street, seemingly dead. This is Kishimura’s world.
But Miya Kishimura also creates disarmingly romantic scenes that take you into a suspended feeling of happiness and yearning.
“I like weird moods,” explains the shy photographer. “I want to show things that you can’t experience in daily life. It touches me when I see something that shouldn’t be, in a place that shouldn’t exist.”
The thought seems to make her philosophical for a moment. “I probably don’t like reality. I don’t like people very much. People bring lots of trouble, don’t you think? Because I don’t like reality, I sometimes just want to fade away.”
Kishimura’s dislike of reality turns out to be a major inspiration for both her work and life. “To make reality enjoyable, even a little bit, I take photographs. She then points at her herself. “Clothes, earrings, tattoos, these are all things I do to have fun.”
Kishimura first became inspired by photography when she was around 16. “I saw this CD jacket that was really cool,” she recalls. “What’s this, I wondered, so I checked out the person who shot it. I completely fell in love with that person’s work and photography became something important to me. I started to see photos in everything around me.”
Photography came natural to Kishimura. “My father loved shooting photographs. There were always many cameras at our home. I think I felt a deep closeness to photography because of that. That made it very easy to become a photographer.”
This familiarity however has not created the confidence you’d expect. “Anybody can push the shutter on a camera,” she says modestly. “I don’t feel like you need any special talent for it. I have no confidence. None whatsoever. That is probably why I feel so intensely happy when my work is praised.”
Her work carries no message, she explains. “As long as I have fun shooting that is enough for me. I don’t have goals. I just want to spend life laughing.”