Ishiuchi Miyako Interview: Advice to the Young


“Advice is fine, but don’t listen to everything,” says the pioneering and award-winning Japanese photographer Ishiuchi Miyako. In this short video, she argues that the road to success for a photographer is about improving your cultural knowledge and “to do your best, and then you will see the result.”

Miyako stresses that you have to be curious and take an interest in many different things, as photography is just one part of a cultural whole: “Opposed to film photography is just an instant. And this is very difficult. To be able to catch this compressed moment, you need to operate on a very high cultural level. The most important is to enhance this level.” The photographer goes on to talk about how the people you meet can be divided into ‘plus’ and ‘minus’ people, and that you should choose those that are plus: “The people I have chosen have all been plus persons… You don’t need to meet many people. You just have to choose carefully.” Finally, Miyako stresses that hard work is fundamental: “If you think it should be easy, you will never accomplish anything. My success, if you can call it that, is all due to my work in the darkroom.”

Ishiuchi Miyako (b. 1947) is a Japanese photographer. In 2005, Miyako represented Japan at the 51st Venice Biennale with her work ‘Mother’s’ (2000-2005). She has been the subject of solo retrospectives at the J. Paul Getty Museum (2015) and the Yokohama Museum of Art (2017), among others, and her work is held in the collections of MoMA in New York and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. Miyako’s accolades include the Kimura Ihei Memorial Photographic Award (1979), and the 2014 Hasselblad Foundation International Award in Photography.

Ishiuchi Miyako was interviewed by Mette Holm in her home in Kiryu in March 2020.

Camera: Yudai Maruyama and Yohei Haga

Produced and edited by Kasper Bech Dyg

Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2020

Supported by Nordea-fonden

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