Japanese photographer Rinko Kawauchi has cemented her reputation as a prolific producer of photographic books, having begun with the release of three books simultaneously in 2001, followed by nine more books, before the release of her latest work in 2011, Illuminance, which is also her first book to be released outside Japan. A collection of 6x6 colour images, shot with a Rolleiflex, the series covers fifteen years of Kawauchi’s work.
Kawauchi’s work seems at once childishly naive and intricately sophisticated, definitively idiosyncratic and intimately universal. The simplicity of them demands attention, and the gentle touch of her photography awakens an emotional reaction slowly, with depth. Beyond the photos themselves, there is a supreme elegance in the ordering and selection of the imagery, a superior understanding of visual storytelling.
Light, in all its forms, is under exploration in Illuminance. From the invisible natural light we forget to see, to its reflections and refractions, its burning and flaring, Kawauchi gives us a visual reminder of the light in everything, the very essence of what allows us to see. The quotidian through her camera lens is delicate and ephemeral, yet timeless and personal. Illuminance also makes a reference to the way we understand the world. Kawauchi says of way she chose the title, "As a metaphor for our life, in which we have different point of views. There are many ways to see our world."
Illuminance by Rinko Kawauchi is available in English from Aperture and in German from Kehrer. Publisher Aperture held an interview with Kawauchi with the release of Illuminance in June 2011. Rinko Kawauchi was previously included in GUP #05 on Japan.