Arts and Culture
This paper examines a boom in Japanese photography in the 1990’s, Onnanoko Shashin or “Girl Photography,” in connection with the Japanese post-war photo criticism. In Girl Photography, young female photographers captured themselves in their domestic, private scenes. Despite its seemingly 'snapshot' style, it evades from being mere private tokens of remembrance. Instead, by applying the certain photographic style that emerged with the Japanese 'girl's' popular culture of the time, it suggests the characteristics of the medium of the image-guided communication.
While it opened up creative spaces for the female body that used to mainly remained object to be looked out to find herself as the subject to look at through the finder, the course of how Girl Photography gained recognition reveals the entanglement between the female photographers and the patriarchal post-war photo criticism. The term “Girl Photography” was coined by photo critic Kotaro Iizawa, who featured several female photographers including Hiromix (*1976), Mika Ninagawa (*1972), and Yurie Nagashima (*1973). Together with the world-famous photographer, Nobuyoshi Araki, he awarded them to a few prizes for emerging photographers such as "New Cosmos of Photography" by CANON and "Hitotsubo-ten" by Guardian Garden.
This paper examines this new wave in the context of Japanese photography criticism historically dominated by men. It championed Nobuyoshi Araki, whose 'artistic' practice/behavior has recently been accused by KaoRi, one of his former models and his long-term muse who was encouraged by the latest "Me-too" movement.