As the first letter of TULP magazine, I wrote about 'Hanayo', a photographer. Imagine a lifestyle of a photographer after 30 years of photographing. I've had a ZOOM meeting with her in Tokyo. Hanayo lives in a two-story house with her six birds and an Uparupa.
튤립 매거진의 첫 레터로 사진가 하나요에 대해 썼다. 지난 해 활동 30주년을 넘긴 사진가는 어떻게 살고 있을까? 도쿄에 있는 그와 줌으로 대화를 나눴다. 하나요는 여섯 마리 새와 한 마리의 우파루파와 이층집에 살고 있다.
Q. Are you at home right now?
A. Yes, I’m in Tokyo. I’m going to practice IVE(아이브, K-pop idol girl group)’s dance tonight.
Q. Which idol do you like?
A. I like dancing rather than being a fan of specific groups. I love the genre as a whole, so I enjoy dancing to every K-pop music.
Q. How do you spend your day?
A. I just talked about K-pop, but actually I’ve been learning dance since I was a kid. Dancing is part of my life. I used to play ballet when I was young. I started Japanese dance after I quit ballet. Now that I’m back in Japan, I’m practicing Japanese dance again.
Artist’s life is not separated from work, so it is easy for us to think only about ourselves or our works. Dance means more than just a movement for me. When I go to the dance class, I focus on the choreography so I can clear my mind. Distracting thoughts go away when I concentrate on dancing – I recently realized it while talking with people. Maybe I’m alive because of dancing.
Q. I hear birds singing.
A. I’m sorry about the noisy birds in my room. How many birds are there …?
(Brings the chicks inside of a basket) This bird is a month old.
(Shows the birds in another cage) This is Dan, and this is Hu. I have six birds and an Uparupa living on the first floor. Uparupa is a kind of pink salamander. Taking care of these animals is another daily routine!
Q. You started taking pictures after you got an Olympus Half camera from your father.
A. When I was in middle school, the teacher I loved created a photography club. I think he wanted to use the darkroom. (laughs) He recommended to join the club because he can’t do activities without members. I joined the club because I could be in the darkroom with him. At that time, most people used automatic cameras like Konica Big Mini, but he told me to use manual camera. I told my father that I need it, not knowing what manual camera is, and he gave me a broken camera. Rather than feeling like I received something very precious, I felt like I got something can’t be used.
Images from Hanayo’s book <Hanayo's Underworld: Half a Century>
Photography worked with her daughter Tenko. @instagram
This is the first picture I took. The picture was taken more interesting than the real world. Since then, I have been working on this kind of works.
A. There is a recently released photo book called <Keep an eye shut> . The book starts with the first picture I took in middle school. This is a record for 30 years, and the first picture I took has never been released until now. (Shows the picture) This is the first picture I took. It is not that you can’t see it only on the computer. Nobody can tell what I took. I think I took a picture of the prism in the garden of my grandmother’s house. My teacher thought I didn’t know how to use the camera because the picture is out of focus. However, I liked these things so much. Something different from the real world was made in the picture. Since then, I have been working on this kind of works.
Q. You worked in the UK, Berlin, and Japan. How should we distinguish these periods?
A. Looking back on past 30 years, my works have changed with age and time, rather than place. I took colorful photos when I was young, but after the colorful photos of girls became popular in Japan, naturally I hated it. At the same time, I moved to Berlin. The weather is very bad in Berlin that I saw gray sky every day. As I lived under the gray sky, I could see that there are many shades of gray. So there were a lot of gray in my pictures at that time.
My assistant once told me that there are different colors by period while he/she organizes my archive. The perception of beauty is bound to change. Since sensibility changes every day, it was difficult to find a target point even when making the photo book. Even though I think something is really great, another picture looks better on the next day. I may be influenced by the atmosphere and weather of the place, but in the end, the pictures reflect what I consider beautiful.
Especially when we lived in Germany, she quickly learned how to speak German even though she was just a kid. I think she wanted to help her mother with language skills. We are still soulmates.
2021.9.24 (fri) ー 10.23 (sat) in VOID+
Q. There must be an unchanging consistency or context in your work.
A. I want to see the beautiful moment with my eyes. Even if I have a camera at the moment, I don’t take pictures. Everyone else takes their phone out, but I want to see it with my own eyes rather than looking through the phone. I take pictures because I want to capture the moments of my children or friends with my camera and show them later.
Q. In addition to from last year, <花代の世界 地下活動半世紀 Hanayo’s Underworld: Half a century> (hereafter, Hanayo no sekai) was also published. The titles of the two books seem very different.
A. <Hanayo no sekai> is edited from a more multifaceted perspective. I mainly presented photographic works in Japanese galleries. I did a lot of other activities, such as performances, music activities abroad, and things I’ve been through when I was geisha. But I did not organize them properly. So, I made the photo book with multifaceted contents that contain everything I have done so far, including my high school days.
Q. You held an exhibition which has a same name with your photo book and number.
A. <Keep an eye shut> was held 3 times. It was hard to show 30 years at once. I divided my 30 years by decade and held the exhibition in three places. <Hanayo no sekai> started at a quirky bookstore called Morioka, which sells only one book.
In the 7th exhibition held in Void+, I displayed my flyers and posters ever made. I like making flyers, so I made them every exhibition and kept them well. It is 30 years’ amount, so a huge amount was installed. Also, I collected the videos and displayed by stacking up monitors like Paik Nam June.
Q. You collaborate with fashion brands and are constantly holding exhibitions in fashion-related places. Just as your work is close to fashion, do you have a fashion style you stick with?
A. I think it's because I have a lot of friends who are fashion designer. As you can see, I am not picky about fashion. I'm small, so I'm happy if the size fits. I don't like heavy clothes because my shoulders are narrow and droopy. Also, when I buy clothes, the label behind my neck stings, so I remove them as soon as I buy it. I don't even know the trend at all, so I keep wearing the same clothes I like. So, when my friends find a hole in my clothes I've worn for a long time, they send me some fancy clothes. The clothes I'm wearing now is also from my friends.(Laugh)
Q. What your daughter Tenko(点子) means in your life, who is also a model and co-worker?
A. To me, Tenko means more than a 'work partner'. Rather than a general parent-child relationship, it is a real 'mate' that helps each other. I gave birth to Tenko when I was 25. It was before I find my own values and complete myself. I and Tenko always lived abroad, so we relied on each other and grew up together. Especially when we lived in Germany, she quickly learned how to speak German even though she was just a kid. I think she wanted to help her mother with language skills. We are still soulmates that is totally different from the relationship between me and my mother.
Even though the work method of capturing the beauty of sculpture through a machine is different from that of writing lyrics and composing, I think photography will always be together no matter what kind of method I choose. I made a collection tape of unreleased music. I’ll send it to you next time.
Q. Even though you are a photographer, you have a wide range of activities including music, video, and performance.
A. If my photography is interesting, it may be because I met cool people while making music or playing and taking pictures when I was in a cool situation. I wish to release more albums. Even though the work method of capturing the beauty of sculpture through a machine is different from that of writing lyrics and composing, I think photography will always be together no matter what kind of method I choose. I made a collection tape of unreleased music. I’ll send it to you next time.
Q. How about releasing it in Korea?
A. It would be really cool. It's really strange and rare music that I've never posted on the internet, but please shout out to somebody!
Q. Tell me about your future plans.
A. I planned to go to Europe around May. I want to perform with my old friends there. There is a difficult traditional Japanese dance called . I want to learn it well and stand on a big stage like the National Theater. It will not be easy because it costs a lot, but I hope my dreams to come true. Oh, and I want to perform in Korea, too. Also release tapes. (Laughs)
Q. Looking back on the past 30 years, what do you want to say about the path you have taken?
A. I was very busy. (Laughs) Last year, the book (<花代の世界>, Hanayo’s World) took 3 years to edit. There were only few sources from the 1990s-2000s on the Internet, so editors gathered them from all over the world and worked hard to collect them. In my 20s-30s, I traveled to many countries every month. I think I worked really hard.
Q. How is it now?
A. The biggest reason I came to Tokyo is that my parents turned 80s. My father is hospitalized and my mother lives nearby. I came here because I would be relieved to be near my parents. I've been abroad for a long time. Now that my inner self is stable and my child is all grown up, I usually spend a peaceful and fulfilling time enjoying the garden.
Q. And dancing in the evening?
A. (Laughs) That's right. I dance every day. Today I’ll dance Eleven. (IVE’s music) (Dances)