Interview with Misa Namura
Misa Namura is an artist/photographer who specializes in white makeup photography in Europe. She has had group and solo exhibitions in Europe and Japan as well as had her work seen in film and theater.
Misa, it is a pleasure to meet you. Can you tell us a little about yourself and where you grew up?
Thank you. I was born in Osaka, Japan. I loved drawing when I was a child. As I grew up, I noticed that I loved to give form to the things I was imagining. So I went to college and studies art in Osaka
How did you first become interested in photography?
I learned film at university and I noticed that when you put some pictures together it become one movie. So I expressed my images by combination of some of the pictures. That’s how I get interested in photography.
You specialize in white makeup photography. What do you like about it?
When you leave something incomplete or blank, people will try to complete it by using their imagination. So I think making white space on a person helps to highlight it’s view of the world.
People who look at my pictures,each one of them make their own film in their minds by putting those pictures together. That’s what I like most.
White makeup was also used by Geisha. The women of the Heian era used either a rice-flour powder or a lead-based powder mixed with water made into a thin paste and applied to their face as a foundation. Is your work based on this?
That’s right. This is a Japanese classic makeup. Kabuki and Maiko in Kyoto does the same type of makeup. I don’t want this makeup to end. I think white makeup is traditional and innovative living makeup.
Do you also apply the makeup and do the styling for your shoots?
I pick the model myself and the styling of the costumes and make-up from the white makeup I work with when I do a photo shoot. I have to do all of the work for the exhibition including the lighting.
Tell us about the series of photos in your portfolio called, “Botanical Garden”. It is my favorite!
Difference between the moment I will not change even if the plant is cut, even if they bloom in the field. Over time, the plants were cut and change shape little by little. My white coat is painted on the skin of living, of course. Whitewashed, therefore seems to feel uncomfortable but it is white, it mirrors the inner surface of wanton women to act freely than that, I would feel the life force but plant.
I get a feeling of loneliness in your series “Mi Sacco”. What are the images with the disembodied hand meant to represent?
That is her left hand. It does looks like disembodied. :)
When she is lying prone I noticed she is missing a shoe and a stocking on one leg but not on the other. Why?
This series has the theme of “something lost”. Something like,”lost her existence in a city” or “lost white part in her.” I want people understand the theme simply , so I took her shoe off.
Tell us about your series “Carocoles”. Why snails?
First,I think snails shape is interesting and when you put white makeup and snails together, I think it will be nonexistent and surreal.
This shooting has become lots of fun.
The way you display your photos during an exhibition is beautiful. I remember one where your images flowed down the wall like water. Do you design your displays and how your photos are presented?
When I think how to display, I think about the space first. Not a wall. I see whole gallery as a tool that expresses my world of white makeup.
When you express your world by using whole space, you can spread your image more in your head.
You have also done work on films and for plays as well. Can you tell us about these projects?
I do white makeup in Japanese theater company”Ishinha”. They construct their stage in the open air. They play outside and white makeup will collapse with time. So, I keep it beautiful.
Who are some of the artists and photographers who have influenced you or that you admire?
A French artist named Serge Lutens. He also expressed the world of white makeup by photos.
How did you come to be living in Europe?
When I visited Germany for the first time, I was very relaxed. Berlin had a very decadent atmosphere. It stimulated my creative impulse. I felt strongly that I would like to work in this land. I am now living back and forth between Osaka and Berlin.
Are there any projects you have coming up that you can share with us?
There are two projects now. First work is based on the theme of “dripping”. The other is a white painted body of a stripped pregnant woman.
I’m working on them both and my hope is to display the series anywhere in the world in the near future.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
My hobby is the tea ceremony. I enjoy a cup of green with my friends. It is very calming. Gives me a new imagination when I do the tea ceremony and it also helps me to relax.
Where can we go to find out more about you and your work?
My website, you have to provide the information as much as possible Facebook, on Twitter.
See more of Misa’s work here:
Translation by: Koharu Matsuda. :)