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Rinko Kawauchi and the watermelon

Rinko Kawauchi and the watermelon

31-01-2012 | 10.00

A while back I saw a photograph of an eaten watermelon in the book section of a museum. It was the cover of a photo book by Rinko Kawauchi. I was unfamiliar with her work, but ever since I picked up the book and looked through it, I've become a big fan.

In 1972, Rinko Kawauchi was born in Shiga, Japan. She started her career as freelance photographer in 1993. However, it was not until 2001, when she simultaneously published three photo books (Utatane, Hanabi & Hanako), that she became an instant hit in Japan.

One of the things that immediately caught my eye was the fragility in her use of color. The resulting intimacy and mood have the same delicate feel. Her most personal series, Cui Cui, shows a period of 13 years in which she photographed her grandparents. It gives a wonderful view in the beauty of the ordinary.

Cui Cui is a journal of empathy and openness that captures the gradual deterioration of health and the passing of her grandfather with great attention to Kawauchi's surroundings. As a result, images of seemingly trivial details get a duplicity that shows an almost philosophical acumen by the distinct use of color.

The book moves me, because Kawauchi's photography takes you to the gist of the moment. The veracious observations are soft, beautiful and discrete as the silent moments of a fragile narrative.

Tekst: Martijn Savenije. Being a photographer and creator of copypasteculture, he enjoys the beauty of observation and discovery.