Rinko Kawauchi


I recently ran across Rinko Kawauchi’s work while visiting Dashwood Books. In 2001 Rinko released a series of three books – “Utatane” (catnap), “Hanabi” (fireworks) and “Hanako“, creating an overnight sensation in the Japanese photography world. Rinko has continued to publish with great success, becoming one of Japan’s most popular female photographers.

Kawauchi’s themes of family, human interaction with nature and the cycle of life are photographed in pastel colors. Her work reveals exquisite delicacy, achieved through sensate compositions, a careful attention to texture and the cultivation of a beautifully clear, clean, often whitish light.


When I look at Rinko’s work I often see a mix of Wolfgang Tillmans and Jason Fulford. Like Fulford, Rinko has a background in graphic design. Both also find the sequencing of images as important as the making of them.

‘For a photographer, it’s a necessity that you can shoot stuff magically. Accidents are necessary, but after I take a photograph, it is not all done. I continue to work on it.’ She suggests that the editing and presentation of the work is as important to the final image as composing and taking the photograph itself.

Pingmag has a revealing interview with Rinko here.

1 comment
  1. Hi Kevin,

    i really like your site and i found myself on it too. i love your pics and especially the one of the girl on the bus that you took with a 4X5. i never got comfortable with that format. i shoot with a twin lens rollei…love it even with it’s little inconveniences. i know i should be commenting here. but, i didn’t know how else to reach you. keep up the good work!


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