Imagine Finding Me: Photographer Chino Otsuka Meets Herself as a Child


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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“The digital process becomes a tool, almost like a time machine, as I’m embarking on the journey to where I once belonged and at the same time becoming a tourist in my own history.” – Chino Otsuka 

In today’s globalized world, each one of us yearn for a personal identity. Self-portrait in photography is one of the means to meet that goal.

Memoriography

A photographic exhibition titled “Memoriography” was run throughout the British Library from October 2 to December 30, 2008. It displayed works of Chino Otsuka, a London-based Japanese photographer. The exhibition was a sensory experience that encouraged visitors to relate their own memories with hers.

In 1982, at age 10, Chino Otsuka moved from Japan to the United Kingdom. She left the strict traditional Japanese school system for Summerhill School in Suffolk, England. There, for the first two years, she attended no lessons at all. When she left the school she had certificates in English, Chemistry and Photography. She studied photography at the University of Westminster. She received a post-graduate degree in Fine Art Photography from the Royal College of Art.

She has exhibited her work in the UK, Europe and Asia. She had a major solo show at Huis Marseille Museum for Photography, Amsterdam.

Chino Otsuka’s adolescent experience in the new country – its people, language and customs – shaped her writing. She has published four books in Japan. Her first autobiography published at the age of 15 was much acclaimed.

Imagine Finding Me

Chino Otsuka uses photography and video, to explore the seamless relationship between time and lingering memory.

Chino Otsuka wondered what it might be like to meet herself as a child. Her series “Imagine Finding Me” consists of twelve digitally manipulated composite double self-portraits of her present and past selves. She visits her younger self by digitally amalgamating recent photographs of herself, taken in 2005 and 2009, with photographs of her journeys with her parents when she was a child. This evokes a subtle and wistful realization of transience of time.

Her choice of transitional objects such as parks, bridges, vacation spots, hotels, trains, etc., was deliberate. She says:

“things are not quite past or present, or somewhere in between… that has reflected from my upbringing, where I’m neither here nor there, and I’m not really Japanese or English.”

The series “Imagine Finding Me” has become her most exhibited work shown over 14 countries.

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