>> Japanese 日本語

“Since photography appeared in the 19th century, photographers began actively attempting to make self-portraits, which before this period, was mainly the purview of painters. However, I believe that the way photographers make self-portraits is somehow different from the ones that painters make. Painters tend to seek and explore a “unique-self” centripetally, so to speak. On the other hand, artists using photography usually strive to separate and break themselves down at each stage in multi-dimensions at first, and as time goes by, they would accept the transformation
of themselves as the way it is, and record them in photography without idealization.

It can be said that Misako Oba’s photographic series FAUSTUS is also descended from the shared ancestry of the experiment of self-portraits by such artists. […..]

In the wake of the abnormal bleeding from her little finger, she experienced one after another, the stages of ‘fear, sadness, anger, confusion, conflict, despair, and even acceptance, hope, and joy.’

What is unique about her FAUSTUS project is that she continued photographing scrupulously over time the large physical shift, as well as the mental and emotional
fluctuations. In the meantime, she also photographed the drawings made with her own fresh blood, and the notes with trembling characters written by her shaking hand.[…..]  by viewing those images that were recorded over the course of the process, I came to feel her physical pain and emotional shakes. This is a shared solidarity with the personal, unique points of others. More or less, it would be quite possible for us to fall into a similar situation in our lives.

By presenting her story in the form of a self-portrait, Oba seems to be attempting to share her experiences, such as agony and hope, as a more openly universal story, instead of making it an isolated personal incident. Her attempt seems to be admirably successful.”
Some quotes from commentary titled
Sharing of Agony and Hope,
by Kotaro Iizawa (Photography critic) on Misako Oba’s [FAUSTUS]

Photo Critic Kotaro Iizawa

(By Kotaro Iizawa) >> English

「19 世紀に写真術が出現して以来、それまでは主に画家たちが試みてきたセルフポートレートを、写真家たちが積極的に試みるようになった。画家たちがいわば求心的に“ 唯一の自己”を探し求めていくのに対して、写真家たちは自己をまず多次元的に分裂・解体しようとする。時間の経過とともに変容していく自分の姿を、理想化することなくそのまま受け入れ、写真に定着していくこともある。大庭みさこの「FAUSTUS」シリーズも、そんな写真家たちによるセルフポートレートの実験の系譜に連なるものといえるだろう。(略)

小指からの異常な出血をきっかけにして、彼女は「怒りと悲しみ、困惑、葛藤、絶望、さらには、受容と希望、歓び」といった段階を、次々に経験していく。その間に、自分の血で描かれたドローイングや、震える文字で記された手記なども挟み込まれる。(略) こうしてその一連の経過を記録した画像を目にすると、彼女の肉体的な痛みや精神的な動揺が、決して他人事ではないように思えてくる。多かれ少なかれ、われわれの人生においても、同じような事態に陥るのは充分にあり得ることだ。大庭は、彼女の経験した痛苦や希望をセルフポートレートの形で提示することで、それを個人的な出来事として孤立させるのではなく、より開かれた普遍的な物語として共有することをめざしているように思える。その試みは見事に成功しているのではないだろうか。」
大庭みさこ写真集『FAUSTUS』解説―痛苦と希望の共有
飯沢 耕太郎(写真評論家)より一部抜粋
(By Kotaro Iizawa)

飯沢 耕太郎(写真評論家 Photography critic)