AWARDS

The Special Photographer Award

SHIRAISHI Chieko
Lives in Tokyo

Reason for award

For her photobook, “SHIKAWATARI (Deer Crossing)” (Sokyusha, 2020)

Born in Yokosuka city, Kanagawa prefecture.  Started taking pictures while traveling.  Traveled various countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Nepal and Pakistan and started photography seriously in the 2000s.

 Published her first photo-book, “Cacti and tails” (Tosei-sha Publications) with the “buildings quietly taking a deep breath in the corners of the towns and things that are a little blunt”.  Later attracted to the classic technique called “Zokingake method (cleaning with a cloth)” mixing oil paints on a layer of oil on the prints, which was popular among amateur photographers in the 20s and the 30s.  At the solo exhibition “Days on Penguin island” held in 2012, she presented monochrome prints full of poetic sentiment visualizing her childhood funny memories.  In 2015, she made them into her second photobook, “SHIMAKAGE” (Sokyu-sha). Unrealistic painting-like scenery, although they’re photographs, is presented by using the “Zokingake method”.  

Actively works in Japan as well as overseas, for example, a solo exhibition “SHIKAWATARI (Deer Crossing) ” (mind’s eye gallery Adrian Bondy, 2019) and joining Tbilisi Photo Festival 2016.  “SHIKAWATARI (Deer Crossing) ”, which she presented in Paris, are pictures she took while following herds of deer in eastern Hokkaido and were made into photobook, “SHIKAWATARI (Deer Crossing) ” (Sokyu-sha) in 2020.  In the snow-covered scenery, unique to Hokkaido, her quiet story of the deer enveloped in the soft light is displayed.

Artist Statements

I would like to express my deep gratitude for receiving this award.

My photo book “SHIKAWATARI” began in 2014 when I visited Hokkaido in the winter. Up to 2020, I visited Doto every winter to take photographs. I discovered the winter landscapes of Doto (Eastern Hokkaido) after feeling entrapped after the earthquake disaster of 2011. In the silent pure whiteness, the dim sight of a row of Hokkaido sika deer crossing a frozen lake was very striking to me. To be able to photograph nature and animal so up-close made me think about the view of nature held by our ancestors as well as the memory that was passed down to living creatures on Hokkaido. A strange sense of unity with nature boils up in me, and I feel I can finally breathe deeply for the first time since the 2011 disaster.

Last year, in the midst of the growing anxiety over COVID-19 crisis, my view of my photographs changed. I thought I really wanted to make this book then, and especially it is because of these difficult circumstances that I strongly felt I wanted to share this scenery with others and decided to publish it. I’m deeply grateful for all of those who have seen my photo book.

SHIRAISHI Chieko

from the series "SHIKAWATARI(Deer Crossing)"
Nemuro City, Lake Furen
2018
from the series "SHIKAWATARI(Deer Crossing)"
Betsukai Town, Hashirikotan
2016
from the series "SHIKAWATARI(Deer Crossing)"
Betsukai Town, Hashirikotan
2017
from the series "SHIKAWATARI(Deer Crossing)"
Nemuro City, Choboshi
2016
from the series "SHIKAWATARI(Deer Crossing)"
Nemuro City, Lake Furen
2015
from the series "SHIKAWATARI(Deer Crossing)"
Nemuro City, Choboshi
2018