mayu kanamori

philosopher's photos

media reviews



New twist to tale of wrecked innocence
by Deborah Cameron

Sydney Morning Herald Review
Humanity captured with humility
Reviewed by Robert McFarlane
The Japanese-Australian photographer Mayu Kanamori performs the simplest act of witness in these colour photographs of the women and men of Sardinia, who are among the longest-lived people in the world. Showing little attempt to enshrine her subjects with evidence of their great age, her quiet, naturally observed moments are essentially a spontaniouse dialogue with her subjects, most of them women.
Looking at Kanamori's gentle observations, it is hard to resist this photographer's approach to her subjects. In pictures such as that of Raffaela Monne's 109th birthday party, the photographer sees her subjects as symbols of renewal, surrounded (as with Mrs Monne) by the abundance of a large family.
In this selection, whose able curator is ARTHERE's Sandy Edwards, we see great age as a daily reality. Kanamori provides visual evidence that the ancients of Sardinia flourish primarily because of caring family and friends. Humour and affection are everywhere, from a quiet kiss between 100 year old Efisio Piras and his 98 year old wife Silvia, to the alert, smiling centenarian Rita Lobina.
Kanamori reveals a society in which age is clearly revered and nourished. There is no sign of centenarians reveiving institutional care, and her subject's good humour remains a constant.
Kanamori captures something else in her pictures which I found quite touching. Perhaps with the clarity of an outsider, she is able to see evidence of her subjects' youth, despite their age. In her simple, veiled portrait of 100 year old Gonaria Sorio, Kanamori reveals much more than a smiling woman, untouched by senility. There is just enough residual girlishness in Soro's smiling profile to glimpse her distant youth.
Kanamori demonstrates a splendid humility in these pictures, avoiding any superficial ambition to make "great photographs" of her ancient sugjects. Instead she is content to allow her camera to receive suble, natural images from her centenarians, recording them with grace and accuracy.
22 August 2008

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