julia mejnertsen

Filtering by Tag: studio kura

last of the best

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back in tokyo, japan

hi y'all.

it's been a while and i apologize. what has happened since last post over a month ago? many things. let's see...

  1. i had my exhibition 'highway 202 to karatsu' at studio kura.
  2. i left studio kura after a 2 month stay. what an amazing place, which i can highly recommend to anyone who need to get away from the hustle and bustle and stress of it all. i din't know i needed it, but i did. it was so relaxed that i managed to practice my headstand everyday... let's just say, i've gotten really good at standing on my head.
  3. my first ever attempt at a photobook 'tell me, how do you pronounce a hyphen?' was shortlisted for guatephoto 2015
  4. i travelled around japan for 2 weeks doing app. 3000 kms in train and visited nagasaki, kyoto, i had the biggest artistic experience in the chichu museum in naoshima, got drunk in takamatsu, hiked the ancient pilgrimage route kumano kodo through the kii mountains, sang karaoke in tokyo and rode the train 2.5 hours to kanazawa to see an art museum, which didn't live up to expectations (then went 2.5 hours back to tokyo on the same day). oh, i also had my second oyster ever in kanazawa - it was the biggest thing i ever saw, had to eat it in 3 bites and i didn't throw it up afterwards.. 

i have a hard time getting my head around having to leave japan in less than 2 weeks.. when i came back this summer for the second time this year, i didn't really have any expectations. actually, the whole thing didn't start out too well. it was scorching hot, and i was left to my own devices most of the time, but it just kept picking up and getting better and better. and poof, i'm head over heels in love with japan again. the high points of the last 2.5 months being the music festival sunset live in keya beach in itoshima, the harvest festival in a field close to the studio kura, riding my bike through the rice fields in the sun wind in hair in itoshima, being buried in hot sand in beppu, the kumano kodo hike, where we walked from takijiri-oji and 2 days later ended up in hongu after an 8 hour hike with no place to stay and finding the most amazing small vegan minshuku (called yamamizuki), which was just absolutely perfection, and lastly the amazing naoshima (the ferry ride and the chichu art museum in particular).

some pictures to illustrate the whole thing.


a little bit about the work - highway 202 to karatsu

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itoshima, fukuoka, japan

impressions of the middle of nowhere.

i came to itoshima after having been working in tokyo on the project search for me in plain sight. i thought i would continue that work here, but with a rural spin. the people out in itoshima surely must also experience loneliness. maybe they do, but the fact is that i haven't seen it. i haven't seen the lonesome pensive moments undisturbed by nothing or no one. when i came here a month ago, it was so hot and humid that by the time it was 10 o'clock in the morning nobody was to be seen anywhere. come night time it got so dark that i guess nobody ventured outside either (unless they were in a car). hence, the setting didn't really invite a continuation of the project from tokyo, which i had originally thought it would. from my own point of view however, the loneliness, silence and melancholy was ever present.

the days went by. i didn't move outside the aircon during the day, and while still HOT at night, it had cooled down slightly. so come nighttime i went to the street. i live right next to the highway 202 that runs to karatsu - it's a fairly busy road and it's the only thing that divides me from the kilometers of rice fields that stretch out on the opposite side. in the back of my house is where the mountain and forrest begin and beyond there is the ocean. while there is not a lot of artificial light sources out here at night, besides a few street lights on the road, the cars and truck continually running through on the 202 create quite a good light source that i thought i might be able to use. also i hadn't quite found the courage to venture too far into the darkness, and thus the hunt for motives around the 202 began. the project of portraying the area around highway 202 to karatsu was born.  

since then i have taken loads of pictures, but the premise remains the same. i shoot at night time, not any longer out of necessity, as it has cooled down since then, but rather to get that uncanny, sort of lonesome feeling that i love, and that i felt when i just arrived. and still feel at times. further i have included the farmers as characters in the series. they are to me mysterious creatures, because i see them in the middle of their fields completely covered in hats, gloves and what not to avoid the sun. i never see a face, because of the big shaded hats and because they are always bent over rummaging through the dirt. to me they are anonymous creatures, but so ever present in the vast landscape, even when they are not in it physically. 


note to self

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itoshima, fukuoka, japan

just a short update on life in the country side, where this week i've been so lucky as to have my series dark ops shortlisted for the prestigious black and white limited edition book publication by gomma called MONO vol. 2 (the series dark ops is also the visual foundation of my photobook tell me, how do you pronounce a hyphen?). MONO is a trilogy of photography books with contributions by the best of the best b/w photographers along side emerging photographers. vol. 1 came out in 2013 and vol. 2 is expected later this year. alas, i was not among the winning artists, but considering i've only been out of photography school for 7 months, i feel very proud and honored to be among the shortlisted. it is a nice acknowledgement to get, when you constantly feel like you're fumbling along trying your best to do something that is true to yourself and it then also resonates with other people. it is small things like this that assures me that i was not wrong in leaving my job in marketing to pursue my dreams. 

next, this week the fall issue of the danish fashion magazine note came out. in it i am featured with a personal essay on tokyo, my best city tips, as well as five pages with some of the photography from my search for me in plain sight series, which i shot earlier this year in tokyo. you can read my essay and see the photos here (in danish only).

over and out.

 

welcome to studio kura in itoshima, japan

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itoshima, fukuoka, japan

i've landed in itoshima - 45 minutes on the local train outside of fukuoka on the island of kyushu in japan. itoshima is not an island (despite the name - shima in japanese means island), but rather a peninsula with ocean/beach on one side, mountains on the other and some rice fields in between. this is where studio kura resides. in a quaint village looking out over the rice fields with the mountains as a back drop. as pretty as can be, but it is rural folks! there's a 15 minute bike ride to the nearest shops. between my house and the rice fields runs the 202 highway to karatsu providing me with some feeling of life at night time, but otherwise it is pitch black after the sun sets at 7-ish. 

out here speakers are installed along the roads (i think actually this is the case most places in japan). in case of earthquakes, tsunamis etc. the alarm can sound so everyone can hear. but these speakers do more than sound alarms - they also play music. i wake up at 7 o'clock in the morning, when the street speakers play a tune. at 12 pm they play again another tune and at 6 pm a third. no need to keep track of the time here - just pay attention to the music coming on... i am waaaaaay down in gear! the days just come and go while i go to the beach, or go for coffee/lunch or ride around in the rice fields and mountains on my bike exploring this beautiful place. i buy local produce from the produce stand - eggs, passion fruits, tomatoes, even sausages from the local pig farm and salt from the local salt works. it's pretty great despite the unavoidable loneliness that comes from being so far away from everything and everybody. it's been unbearably warm here for the first 10 days i've been here, and there has literally been no people around, but it's cooling down a little bit now (only 29 degrees celcius today), so maybe i'll start seeing some more faces.. 

i do realize that i'm here on an artist residency, but i have not yet decided what kind of project i want to do. i've started doing some stuff already, but i want to try out some more things before settling on a project. i'm sure i'll come up with something, since i still have 1.5 months to go. i'll keep you updated.

for now, some pictures of the place i'll call home for the next few months.