Comments/Context: Japanese photographer Tomoko Sawada has already made a sizeable photographic career out of the simple idea of changing her outward appearance. From arrays of photobooth self-portraits to school girl class pictures and arranged marriage shots, she has used nuances in clothing, makeup, hairstyle, and facial gesture to generate literally hundreds of variations on herself, quietly commenting on cultural traditions, societal roles and norms, and the creation of personal identity along the way.
Her newest body of work continues in this same vein, this time using paired portraits of herself which are identical except for small changes in superficial details (hence the title of the show, Mirrors). In what might be pictures of twins, sisters, or futuristic (and creepy) clones, all is exactly the same except for the manipulation of one mundane, everyday variable: the color of a blouse, the style of the hair, or the tilt of a head. What is altogether surprising is how much these small external characteristics seem to imply about age, class, and personality, as well as the subtleties of mood and emotion.
- Artist site (here)
- Interviews: Artkrush (here), Pingmag (here)
- Heavy Light, 2008 @ICP (here)
- Review: NY Times, 2003 (here)
- Book review: School Days, Japan Exposures (here)
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