Mikiko Hara has her own way of secretly capturing the strangers who cross her path: a young man on the train, a couple holding hands, a little girl playing in a park… Sometimes their eyes meet briefly as she presses the shutter, but Mikiko Hara does not exchange with her subjects. Yet, these portraits reveal something infinitely personal, as if the photographer and her subjects were bound by an invisible pact: being in the right place at the right time.
Mikiko Hara’s approach, firmly rooted in the documentation of every- day life, extends in the intimacy of her living space: cut flowers in the sink, a strawberry shortcake in the fridge, her three sons dozing on the floor. The eye of the photographer, who is also a mother and wife, moves back and forth from the outside to the inside, from the public to the private sphere. Wherever she is, Mikiko Hara observes and tells stories like fragments of life.
At the initiative of the publisher – who made the selection in collaboration with the artist – these unpublished photographs from 1996 to 2021 have been assembled in this book, entitled Small Myths.
About the Author
Mikiko Hara takes her photographs without using a viewfinder. She sees and photographs her subjects without looking at the image through the viewfinder. She uses a German-made Ikonta from the 1930s.
Since she first encountered this classic camera in the mid 1990s, she has made the square-format snapshot into her own photographic style. The photographer always has this lightweight, easy to carry, and quiet camera with her in her bag as she walks the streets. She photographs the nonchalant figures of fleeting passersby, as well as the landscapes and material things that emerge and disappear before her eyes wherever she goes. In those places she has come upon by chance, she quietly releases the shutter. She gambles on the accumulation of chance that is the technique of the snapshot. Each of the moments that have been retained among the hordes of photographs resonates with the fragments of memory within the viewer, arousing feelings which precede words.
Mikko Hara was born in 1967 in Toyama Prefecture. She graduated in 1990 from Keio University’s Faculty of Literature. In 1994, she graduated from Tokyo College of Photography where she actively pursued photography. She continued studying at Tokyo College of Photography as a research student and graduated in 1996. During the same year she had her first solo exhibition titled ‘Is As It,’ which was held in Tokyo. Since then, her works have been shown at numerous exhibitions in Japan and abroad. In 2005, she published a collection of her photographs titled ‘Hysteric 13: Hara Mikiko'(Hysteric Glamour). In 2007, her first solo exhibition outside of Japan was held at Cohen Amador Gallery in New York. Her works are in the collection of the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, the J. Paul Getty Museum, LA, and Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA) among others. (via ibashogallery.com)