We rarely vividly remember our dreams, if at all. Often, all that remains in our consciousness are subsequent images that refuse to be identified. Maybe feelings, perhaps senses. In Kumi Oguro’s recent photography series, which she temporarily calls “Waking Images from Dreams”, she shows us these mysterious illusion-like images that challenge our perspective of reality. “I am intrigued by the images of our dreams just before awakening: it is difficult to find the logic there, there is nothing to indicate time, the space is indeterminate. In my work, I try to create an atmosphere that is quite close to those dream images,” Kumi tells Lens Culture. As Resource Magazine‘s chosen Photographer of the Day, we reached out to Kumi and tried to get to know more about her creative prowess.
How did you end up with the idea for the series?
This series I am working on now is actually a continuation from my previous one “NOISE”. My basic working method consist of placing female models in indeterminate space has been more or less fixed while my focus or tendency keeps changing. I see this as my life work, until one day I feel “This is it.” After more than 10 years, I don’t know exactly how I started, but from the early days of my career, I always wanted to create a world that is just next to our reality, waking hours, using female models as “material” in order to do so. Making portraits of them as how they are, was never my great interest.
Tell us briefly, the process on how you set up each image?
I don’t use a studio or any fixed working place. I am constantly in search of spaces in which I could work. These “spaces” are often the starting point from where I develop certain images. It could be also clothes or a person who’s hair color and length appeals to me. I decide on the compositions, clothes and certain poses to start with, but I’m also flexible with what happens on the spot and adjust to new situations. I examine the light in advance, according to my planning I build up a scene and fix the pose of the models as if they are dolls. Still, I leave a certain space for what happens on the spot: unexpected light effects or a subtle change in the pose of the model.
Describe your images in this series to us? does it tell a narrative or not?
My images might look like there is a story but there is none. There is also no such thing as hidden stories only I know. This is what I mean by dream images, it’s hard to find any logic there. You cannot understand what is going on, what happened and is going to happen. This is exactly the point for me, more important than explaining something with a narrative.
What or who inspired you the most in the way you expresses your art?
I cannot name any specific person. I get influenced by literature, theatre, dance, film, painting, sculptures. Not by any photographers in fact. It’s often much later that I realise certain influence on my creation from something I absorbed and digested.
Lastly, share to us your future plans for new photography series?
First of all, I would like to make a book of this series. As it was the case with my first book “NOISE”, making a book gives me an opportunity for a fresh new start. Next to it, I have bits of ideas for complete new series, but it’s too early to talk about them right now. It’s coming soon!
To see more of Kumi Oguro’s work on “Waking Images from Dreams” and her other photography series, check out her website. To be considered for Photographer of the Day, follow us on Instagram @resourcemag and e-mail submissions to email@example.com with the subject line “POTD Submission.”