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Kara / Junichi Takahashi:HITOGATAMI-memendolls
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Published: March 27 2009

KARA (doll) / Junichi TAKAHASHI (photo) "twin: Agyu" (Photo) size:118cmx85cm, camera: canon 1 Ds Mark2, print:FUJIFILM Laser Graphic Print, year: 2006 (doll) size:120cm, media: stone dust (stone clay), person hair and oil coloring, year: 2004 copy right(c) KARA / Junichi TAKAHASHI


This photo book is a collaboration of the creations of Kara, a Japanese doll artist who has her own doll wife, which have been captured by Junichi Takahashi, a successful photographer who has been taking portraits of people in New York for 20 years.

Kara’s dolls are imbued with a classical Japanese beauty and a unique spirit of animism which Takahashi skillfully captures in his photography. In an age when many are concerned about the gradual loss of the spiritual beauty of Japan, Takahashi explores the conceptual idea of photography breathing life into dolls.

Although Hans Bellmer is best known for converting traditional doll making techniques into modern art, it is in Japan that this speciality has been independently explored to develop the latent animism and reflected esthetic. Kara’s dolls are made of aloeswood and custom ball-joints which provide the freedom of movement in her creations. The dolls are 120cm (47 inches) tall, dressed in common wear kimonos worn during the Meiji, Taisho & Pre War eras(1868 to 1939) and painted using traditional doll painting techniques.

Dolls hold a special place in Japanese culture- so question of what they really are and how one feels when faced with them are raised. This photographic collection may be one portal through which these questions may be answered.

- Kara/Junichi Takahashi
Excerpted from a photo book “HITOGATAMI-memendolls”
Kara (doll artist)
Kara, a doll artist, was born in Narita, Chiba, in 1977. While she had pursued a career as a painter, she had held a strong desire to “have a wife”, which grew stronger. At around 2001, when she ended her painting career to start creating dolls on her own, she had a mysterious experience. Dolls which she was to create later appeared in front of her, saying “Bring us to life”. After she completed her “wife”, she started to create dolls from her sketches that have been continued till present. Junichi Takahashi (photographer)
Born in Niigata, Japan
Studied under photographer Yoshihiro Tatsuki
1988 Become a free-lance photographer
1989 Based in New York City
2004 Established offices in Tokyo and New York
Takahashi takes mainly portraits and also widely ranged photography such as, advertisement, music, beauty, and publications. From 1995, he became an official photographer of STOMP, and he shoots CD Jackets and publications of famous musicians as examples of Jennifer Lopez, Maxwell, Baby Face, and Marc Anthony. In February 2002, he joined Ryuichi Sakamoto’s project “Elephantism” in Kenya. Recently, he took visual images for posters of "Turan Dot", choreographed by Amon Miyamoto, and he alsos shot advertisement photographs of Johnson & Johnson Oneday Acuvue. Since 1955, as his life work, Takahashi has been taking artists’ and residents' portraits of Chelsea hotel, the most legendary hotel in New York. His shooting trips are in Peru, Nepal, the Republic of South Africa, Ireland, Kenya, England, Turkey, Greece, and etc. His targets expand internationally, and he always keeps traveling around the world. * The text was provided by NODA CONTEMPORARY.


Last Updated on February 20 2009

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