Laurie Toby Edison


Women of Japan 日本の女性

The women in these photos are totally free of the stale mysterious images often applied to images of women in Asia. The work appeals to no obvious references about Japan, but still seems to tell something very important she found in this country. Far from exploitation of exotic images, [Laurie’s] work gives you a kind of intimate feeling, though you don't know the people in the pictures personally. I very much like this feeling of intimacy, which I find in her other works, like Women En Large or Familiar Men.

— Hiroshi Yoshioka

Women of Japan is a photographic series exploring the variety of women who live in Japan. The images show the beauty and power of women diverse in age, class, size ability and backgrounds, extending the boundaries of both US and Japanese standards of “who” is beautiful and “who” matters. The work includes images of women who are traditionally Japanese, Buraku, Korean residents, Okinawans, Ainu and other “not Japanese” women.

As Laurie says in an interview for the Kyoto Journal, “All of my portraiture projects are about the beauty and power of the models, about making the invisible visible, about finding ways to bring out something essential about each person I photograph, and about using imagery for social change. Women of Japan is all of that, and it’s also about Japanese identity.”

The series consists of 40 black and white photographs of women of Japan from many different cultures and backgrounds. (Laurie has taken most of the photographs on her trips to Japan in 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004.) These clothed portraits are of women in their chosen environments and in poses that they find natural and comfortable. She has photographed women of Japan from all over the country, of varying ages, sizes, occupations, physical abilities, and backgrounds. Supporting text is by models and other people from a range of Japanese communities.

Some of these photographs have been exhibited at the National Museum of Art in Osaka (as part of “Meditations on the Body: Recent Works by Laurie Toby Edison”), at Third Gallery Aya in Osaka, and at the Kyoto Art Center. The full Women of Japan series and bilingual texts is a featured exhibition of Nippon 2007, the World Science Fiction Convention in Yokohama, August 31-September 3, 2007.


このシリーズは、さまざまな文化と背景をもつ日本の女性を撮った黒白写真(主として8 X10インチ)40枚から構成されています。ほとんどは、ローリーが日本を訪問した1998年、2000年、2001年、2002年、2004年に撮影されたものです。これら着衣の肖像写真にある撮影場所とモデルの姿勢は、モデルたちが自然でくつろいだ気分になれるようにと注意深く選んだものです。ローリーは、日本中のさまざまなところにいる、さまざまな年齢、職業、体力、出自を有する日本の女を撮影しました。シリーズ中には、各人につき1枚か2枚の写真があります。同じ1枚に、2人ないしはそれ以上の数の女性が写っているものもあります。写真に付けられたテクストには、モデルになった方々が書いたもの、ならびにそれ以外の方々が書いたものがあり、日本社会で彼らが属するコミュニティは多様です。

これらの写真は以下の展覧会で展示されました――国立国際美術館(大阪。「からだへの 瞑想――ローリー・トビー・エディソン」展の一部として)、サード・ギャラリー・アヤ(大阪)、そして2002年に京都でのアーティスト・イン・レジデンス期間中に京都アート・センターにて。