Red Flower: the Women of Okinawa by Mao Ishikawa - 1

Red Flower: the Women of Okinawa

Mao Ishikawa

£60.00

Session Press’ Red Flower, The Women of Okinawa, published in 2017, was the first US monograph by Okinawan photographer Mao Ishikawa, a highly revered figure in Japan. The release of the second printing in September of this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Okinawa’s reversion to Japan in 1972 since... ​​Read More

Session Press’ Red Flower, The Women of Okinawa, published in 2017, was the first US monograph by Okinawan photographer Mao Ishikawa, a highly revered figure in Japan. The release of the second printing in September of this year marks the fiftieth anniversary of Okinawa’s reversion to Japan in 1972 since its’ occupation by the US after World War II. Red Flower celebrates the courageous and honest lives of women she met and befriended while working at bars in Koza and Kin that were hang-outs for black soldiers from the local US military bases in Okinawa. The book features several unpublished photographs from artist's first book, ”Hot Days in Camp Hansen" published in 1982. Red Flower is the seminal work of Ishikawa, marking the starting point of her subsequently long career as a photographer. Designed with full-bleed images reproduced in a large format with intense b/w printing which successfully conveys the original lively spirit and tension of Ishikawa’s Camp Hansen work, available once again for wider public appreciation with an essay by the artist

Her attendance of Shomei Tomatsu’s class at WORKSHOP photography school in the Spring of 1974 seems to have had a strong influence on her style; their close association as friends and teacher/student continued until his death in 2012. Martin Parr identifies her work as ‘post-Provoke’ in The Photobook: A History Volume III (page 90), observing the strength of her photography is charged by its directness and rawness, in contrast to the stylized symbolism preferred by the previous generation of Provoke photographers. Most importantly, it is crucial to note that her work is often delivered from the result of her pure pursuit of her subject matter. Especially for this particular project, Ishikawa’s engagement to the subject was enormous; she worked as a server at the bars along with the other girls and had relationships with boys she met there for two years. Thus, her personal involvement enables her to capture the actual events and scene without theorizing or romanticizing. In “Red Flower”, Ishikawa reveals her very honest personal documentary in all sincerity, while still maintaining enough detachment from the subject to be able to perfectly capture the scenes with her sharp eyes.

Okinawa has been one of the most popular subjects in the history of Japanese photography, having attracted many renowned Japanese photography masters such as Tomatsu Shomei, Daido Moriyama, Nobuyoshi Araki, and Keizo Kitajima. Born and raised in Okinawa, Ishikawa is still the only female photographer still vigorously making work in Okinawa (and living in Okinawa) in spite of whatever taboos or challenges she came across along the way.


Published by Session Press
Design by Studio Lin, NYC
23 x 33cm
Softcover
112 pages
2nd Edition, 600 copies
September 2022
English and Japanese
ISBN 978-0-6928174-4-5
In Stock