Edition 2024


Ishiuchi Miyako


1 July - 29 September 2024

10.00 AM - 07.30 PM



All that has form will eventually vanish. Once the human body is lifeless, it cannot continue to exist in this world. This is an obvious fact, yet I sometimes find it impossible to accept. This was the case with my mother’s death, even though it is only natural for a parent to die before their child.

Her body was nowhere to be found. The belongings she left behind, which once adhered to her, had become useless without their owner. Before disposing of them, I decided to take photographs.

My mother and I did not get along too well when she was alive, but as I shot her belongings, it seemed that the distance between us gradually lessened. Each of the things that directly touched my mother were like part of her skin, and I came to vicariously sense these parts of her body. I documented the pathos of the chemise with no shoulders to hang on, the dentures with no mouth to go into, the lipstick with no lips to adorn, the shoes with no feet to fill them. I had never given any thought to my mother’s body, but now I was discovering it in detail, thanks to photography. To take a photo is to gauge one’s distance from the subject, and to render visible the unseen things that lie beneath the surface. How could I capture images beyond the reach of my eyes? I pointed the camera and clicked the shutter, as few times as I could. Maybe nothing would appear. I placed the negatives in the enlarger. The negative image, imprinted by light, was transferred to the paper, and as it bathed in the developer, a positive image was printed. The waiting time before the image appears is crucial. In that interim, the photograph takes shape through contemplation.

It has been 24 years since my mother's death. Unfortunately, the photographs in the Mother’s series can never recede into the past, as they are reinvigorated each time they are shown.

In a new place, Arles, a new atmosphere, and a new space, Mother’s, ひろしま/hiroshima and Frida are all brought out of the past, revived in the present moment.

Ishiuchi Miyako

With support from Kering | Women In Motion.

With the collaboration of KYOTOGRAPHIE International Photography Festival, Kyoto.

  • Institutional partners

    • République Française
    • Région Provence Alpes Côté d'Azur
    • Département des Bouches du Rhône
    • Arles
    • Le Centre des monuments nationaux est heureux de soutenir les Rencontres de la Photographie d’Arles en accueillant des expositions dans l’abbaye de Montmajour
  • Main partners

    • Fondation LUMA
    • BMW
    • SNCF
    • Kering
  • Media partners

    • Arte
    • Lci
    • Konbini
    • Le Point
    • Madame Figaro
    • France Culture