About this project
STRETCH GOAL ADDED! $15,000
Thank you to everyone for helping me reach my goal! It's been a truly inspirational process and I am very excited to share my work with you.
In response to the amazing support I've added a new stretch goal of $15,000! This will ensure another 500 copies of the softcover book, and they will be distributed globally to art bookshops!
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Since 2012, I have been photographing myself as the fictional character "Kikuchiyo-san", an elderly woman living a delicate and fragile existence.
This body of work resulted in a collection of 99 photographs which often use humour, metaphors and storytelling to represent the process of living and ageing and confronting us with the fact that everything is in a constant state of evolution and hopes to remind us that life is a temporal experience.
"I Used To Be You" series received the grand prize from the Lens Culture International Exposure Awards and was also included in The Photolucida Critical Mass Top 50.
Help me reach my goal to produce a beautiful limited edition artist book, and bring the "Kikuchiyo-san" story to the world.
"Being Kikuchiyo-san is both future and past for Kyoko – as it makes her wonder about her silver years, but also about how her older self will look back at this series and remind her of her life now."
(Michelle Cohan, on CNN)
"In the age of plastic surgery and the obsession with never growing old, Hamada's delicate yet powerful work reminds us of how brief moments and small details are the essence of a life we rush through."
(Nicola Schwartz - Editor of Pocko Editions)
The book will be a limited edition hardback with a softback version, stitched binding with pink thread and with a textured matte cloth cover of bright white colour. The book will measure 9"x 9" or 23 cm x 23 cm square.
The cover will have the title of the book silkscreened. The title will be done by a Japanese typographer in a font that is Latin based but has its roots in Japan. The paper for the interior will be a matte bright white colour. Specifically: Munken Polar Smooth high white 120 gsm. I estimate a total of 48 pages including front matter. Each Hardback edition will be signed by Kyoko Hamada.
Limited edition signed prints from the series of which you can see some samples below (please get in touch with me to select your favourite one!) Please refer to the rewards bar on the right for details.
Chapters start and chapters finish. From finding a few strands of grey in my hair to the changing landscape of my neighbourhood, "I Used To Be You" derives from a number of age and change led experiences.
My personal sense of loss growing up was also a big motivating factor for "I Used To Be You". From moving to America at the age of 15 and leaving my life behind in Japan, to my father passing away which acted as the most poignant reminder that life does end one day.
"Every year I worryingly become a little more like my mother. As Kyoko turns the lens on herself, her always curious perspective on life comes into play. Her photographs are beautifully observed, delightful representations of what it is to become elderly."
(Cheryl Newman - Photography Director)
Rather than being in my comfort zone behind the camera, aided by ageing makeup, a grey wig, hand-made body stuffing, and a selection of thrift shop assisted clothing, I transformed myself into the fictional character Kikuchiyo-san and thus become the subject facing the lens.
The back and forth of Kikuchiyo-san being in my own home, and out in the world, brings to mind my tendency to ponder things that are right in front of me, as well as things we will never understand.
"This body of work is a force; it's poignant and personal, inventive and insightful into the psyche of a talented and compassionate artist."
(Cat Jimenez - Director of the Lucie Foundation)
Ageing is a universal experience. As long as we live, it is a fact of nature we cannot deny or hide from. To think about our mortality is to confront our lives. It'll be amazing, on our death bed, if we could feel content and our last thought to be - "I had a good life".
Kikuchiyo-san represents those of whom are often left behind and neglected in the race to live, those who have to find ways to navigate through the obstacles and struggles within the modern world, and those brave enough to face its challenges.
Pocko Editions will produce, publish and distribute the limited edition book and coordinate the book launch and exhibitions.
This campaign has been launched with a large scale projection at the closing night of the MOPLA - at the Leica Gallery in Los Angeles.
"Photographer Kyoko Hamada Spent Two Years Pretending To Be An Elderly Woman, And Here's What She Learned"
"Artist Spent 2 Years Wearing Makeup, Wigs And Thrift Store Clothes To Look Like An Old Lady"
"This New Yorker Has Spent The Last Two Years Disguised As An Old Woman Photographing Her Imagined Existence In The City"
"New York Woman Says Disguise Taught Her What It Feels Like to Be Elderly"
THE FUTURE CALLS TO THE PRESENT: “I USED TO BE YOU”
"Photographer has pretended to be an old lady for TWO YEARS to capture how differently the elderly are treated"
"Artist Confronts Mortality With Elderly Alterego"
"Why this young photographer lives a double life as an elderly woman"
"I Used To Be You"
"Photographer Kyoto Hamada creates an alter ego for ongoing project"
"Elderly Alter-Ego Photography"
"Time travel: The art of an older me"
"Kyoko Hamada's Self Portraits Imagine What Her Life Will Be Like in 30 Years"
"Kyoko Hamada: I Used To Be You"
Kikuchiyo-san is a fictional character. Rather than being in my comfort zone behind the camera, I am the subject facing the lens. The back and forth of Kikuchiyo-san being in her own home and out in the world—and the still lifes which are interspersed throughout—bring to mind my tendency to ponder things that are right in front of me, as well as things I will never understand.
Unlike the feeling evoked by the painting in Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, looking at Kikuchiyo-san in the mirror caused me to feel a mixture of humility, humour and a sense of tender familiarity. I’m not sure when my interest in ageing started, though I can think of several reasons why it is now on my mind. Small losses like my favorite corner café being replaced by a chain drug store and finding the first few strands of grey in my hair. Or, bigger losses like death of my father and the earthquake disaster in Japan. In June, Kikuchiyo-san will have been with me through four seasons; a reminder that time and life are always moving.
Born in Tokyo, Kyoko Hamada relocated to West Virginia when she was fifteen and graduated from the Pratt Institute studying photography and painting. Her subject matter has often been the ordinary, stylized and staged into subtle quiet moments dealing with self-referentiality and various metaphors.
Hamada has exhibited her work in the National Portrait Gallery (UK), Randall Scott Gallery, Civilian Art Projects, and Michael Hoppen Gallery UK), among others. Her latest series, “I Used To Be You” recently received the grand prize from the Lens Culture International Exposure Awards, and was also included in the Critical Mass Top 50.
She has been working as a photographer for the last 10 years; her clients include Vitra, Uniqlo and Kärcher along with several magazines including The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Telegraph Magazine, T Magazine, DuJour, and Wall Street Journal Magazine.
She lives and works in New York City.
Risks and challenges
The risks and challenges when publishing an artist book include the possibility of delay, but Pocko Editions has 15 years experience at dealing with the production and printing challenges involved in making very special books. If this campaign is successful, I would do everything possible to make sure the book is published in December 2015.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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