GUP asked Hiroshi Ono about his work for the ‘Austria-Slovenia, In-between 4’ series. Hiroshi Ono lives and works in Amsterdam and is an upcoming photographer from Japan.
How did you get the assignment for this book?
A couple of years ago, I was in a group exhibition at the National Museum of Modern Art in Tokyo. The initiator of the ‘In-between’ project saw my work there and contacted me.
Why Austria and Slovenia?
I did not have the choice. I live in the Netherlands, so I asked to photograph there, but it was too late. Shuhei Motoyama was already chosen for the Netherlands and he did not want to switch anymore.
How did you work on this project?
I first tried to get some information on the internet about the two countries. I got some about Austria, but very little about Slovenia. Luckily, I had a coordinator for every country to help me where needed. Then I traveled three weeks in each country, alone, taking pictures every day. This work consists of two parts: one about Austria and one about Slovenia, both countries in their contemporary state. In the first part (Austria) I combined photos of classical monuments with modern ‘landscapes’ in the night in Austria. In the second part (Slovenia) I combined photos of the white horse Lipica, which is originally raised in Slovenia with Landscape photos of Slovenia.
How did you become a photographer?
I started to study sculpture but I did not like it that much and I also did not want to become a painter. So, I ended up with photography. Osamu Kanemura taught me photography. I met him in the Metro, in Shinjuku. He looked very funny, bizarre, strange looking guy wearing sunglasses in the Metro. I talked to him and he invited me to dinner. I told him that I wanted to be a photographer but I was not really sure. He told me that he was a photographer and he decided to teach me. I consider him my master.
What did he teach you?
Nothing. He never said anything about my photographs, only 'Good' or 'Bad', nothing more.
I graduated in 1996, at the University of Tama, Art University in Tokyo. In 1999, I won the Konica prize which gave me notoriety in Japan. I realized a project about places where tragic incidents had taken place. Then, in 2003, I did an other project named ‘When Tomorrow Comes’, about the ‘essential and constitutive’ differences between the places I discovered in the world. And finally this ‘In-between’ book. I also make snapshots every day in Amsterdam that I show on my website www.onounit.com, updated daily.