Ariko Inaoka

10/10 Celebrating Japanese Women Photographers


Curated by
Pauline Vermare,
Lucille Reyboz and
Yusuke Nakanishi


Eagle and Raven ©︎ Ariko Inaoka

Eagle and Raven ©︎ Ariko Inaoka

Eagle and Raven ©︎ Ariko Inaoka

Born in Kyoto. Photographer and 16th-generation head of Owariya soba business. Ariko Inaoka went to the United States at the age of 17, discovered photography in high school, and went on to study in the Photography program of Parsons School of Design in New York. After graduating, she started her career as a New York-based photographer. In 2001, she experienced the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States. The following year she visited Iceland, where she was fascinated by the scenery of the water. Thus began a five-year period of traveling to Iceland to photograph the country’s water-filled landscape, culminating in the release of her first photobook, SOL (Akaaka Art Publishing), in 2008. The next year she began photographing two twin sisters she met in Iceland; this project continued for eight years, and led to the 2020 release of her second photobook, Eagle and Raven (Akaaka Art Publishing). During this time, in 2014, she became the 16th head of the family business, which was founded over 550 years ago. She continues to lead a double work life, as head of the Owariya soba shop and photographer. The beautiful water that springs from the land of Iceland, the soft moss, and the rocks that have been there for centuries. Photographing the sisters growing up surrounded by this magical nature evoked for Inaoka scenes of the waters of Kyoto and memories of her own childhood. Eight million gods dwelling in nature around us... invisible now, but we could see them when we were children. Animism, which flows deep in the Japanese soul, is the consistent theme of Inaoka’s works.
10/10 Celebrating Japanese Women Photographers
Co-curated by Pauline Vermare, Independent curator and photography historian (formerly cultural director of Magnum Photos and curator at ICP, New York) and Co-founders/Co-directors of KYOTOGRAPHIE, Lucille Reyboz and Yusuke Nakanishi. Through the series shown in the exhibition, we see a reflection and perspective distinctive to each photographer, whether they are living and working in Japan or abroad. These powerful images will be presented in a scenography that embodies the KYOTOGRAPHIE spirit and gives each artist her own customized space, thanks to versatile and sustainable structure, conceived by Kyoto-based designer and architect Hiroyasu Konishi.

This exhibition is supported by Women In Motion, a Kering program that shines a light on the talent of women in the fields of arts and culture. Since 2015, Women In Motion has been a platform of choice for helping to change mindsets and reflect on women’s place and recognition across artistic fields.

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