Kumi Oguro is a young photographer of Japanese origin. She studied at the City of Westminster College (London), then at the Fine Arts Academy (l’Académie des Beaux-Arts) and at Saint-Luc (Brussels). For now, she is living and working in Antwerp and has gone back to study at university (cinematographic studies). She is undertaking final year work on the theoretical, historical and artistic relationship between her own photography and the language of cinema.


Obviously, there are a lot of them. The expressionist play on light or actors’ theatrical play. Directing scenes, putting the body in situation. Suspending time and space in an unrevealed sequence of a narrative. The determining presence of an off-screen, before or after the event… (What event?) She knowingly and mistrustingly arranges the disturbing elements, clues and shady areas. There are special effects for tension and nods to the logic of genres: the strange, the elsewhere, horror or thriller.. The protagonists’ psychology passes itself off as impenetrable and, at the same time, their solitude seems obvious, just like their wild or disillusioned determination to be there, right in the middle of the drawn out stories. Their fleeting beauty or torment – and fragile appearance is shown.


But bare flesh is too present (and too tempting) for it to be a well worked out catalogue of stylistic devices. All these devices, concepts and questions have been mixed, interwoven and immersed in Kumi Oguro’s photography in an instinctive and intuitive manner for a long time. Without "owing" anything to cinema, meaning without reference, explicit or obliging quotation, but in a way which is both very conscious of itself and very personal and spontaneous. As if it could be attempted, all in one block, to approach perfection – never achieved – and to take the crack into account – impossible to deny. Equally, the same certainly goes for the expression of a veiled intimacy and the demand for femininity. Finally and above all these images write the alphabet of a surprising, very modern and poignant sensuality between the confusion and worry of desire.


Bazin (or perhaps Mourlet, it would seem): "Cinema substitutes in front of our gaze a world which matches our desires". But which also shapes them, treats them roughly and, sometimes, engulfs them...

Emmanuel d’Autreppe © View Photography Magazine (N°6 Autumn 2007)