Reviews / Commentary /Press on Misako Oba’s artbook [FAUSTUS]. Updating reviews from readers 2022

>> 日本語 Japanese

“The content of the FAUSTUS was truly phenomenal. I don’t think I’ve ever seen such pure expression, and it touched my heart.

Artists would think of using blood in their work at some point. But if the blood comes from a person’s own cutting, impurities such as his/her subjectivity and greed inevitably are present.

However, this is not the case with her work, which contains nothing of the sort. The blood, as clear as water, expresses her strong determination and gently enters our hearts in a raw way. I felt the red was really beautiful. The white gauze looks like a cocoon.

I greatly commend her for the courage to genuinely express this painful experience and to capture the hope that came from her loss in a book. When I encountered this book, I felt that true art is not a made up expression, but the life of the artist him/herself.”

Soichiro Kanai
Contemporary Artist (Former Professional Tennis Player)

“If you hear about a book showing photographs of artwork painted with fresh human blood, you might dismiss it as distasteful, gruesome or macabre. But none of these preconceptions applies to Misako Oba’s Faustus. The unique work tells in carefully chosen words and shows in the artist’s own sensibly curated photographs the story of her incredible physical and emotional journey. Oba beautifully turned into art the painful experience and vivid reds from the spontaneous bleeding of her right pinkie, and bravely turned into hope the despair of its amputation.

To me, Faustus teaches a profound lesson in humility, faith, optimism, and even gratitude in the face of adversity. I love it so much that, after securing my own copy, I gave another to one of my sisters as a birthday gift to share with her the book’s inspiring message.”

Martin Dietrich Brauch,
Researcher at Columbia University, New York / Art Collector

New! Added in April 2022
” The photo book “FAUSTUS” has arrived.

The word “sacred scar (Stigmata)” came to mind.

It is very private, but I also felt a sense of universality. 

I felt that blood spurting out was something like a prelude to the outpouring of light.

I don’t want to use the words easily, but at the same time, I felt like I wanted to put something into words.

Thank you! I felt love, light and life.”

Photographer in Japan, Educator in photography

“Faustus recounts Misako’s heart-breaking journey of the amputation of her finger through fine art photography. As an organist and pianist, her story impacted me greatly with the horror of her predicament. I am thankful for her courageous sharing rather than shying away from the world and others, as it enables us to lament and grieve the loss in our own lives as well.”

Roger W. Lowther
Author of “Aroma of Beauty”

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2021-2022 Recent Reviews (読者評価・感想)




赤が本当に美しく感じた。 白のガーゼが繭のように見える。


元プロテニスプレーヤー/ 現代アーティスト




ニューヨーク コロンビア大学 研究者/ アートコレクター

New! 2022年4月追加







「『ファウストス』は、著者の指の切断手術に対する胸が張り裂けるような ジャーニー (旅路)がアート写真を通して綴られている。オルガン奏者でピアニストでもある私は、彼女が経験した窮地の恐怖とともに、彼女のストーリーに大きな衝撃を受けた。




2021-2022 読者評価・感想 (Recent Reviews from Readers)

共同通信による記事産経新聞・東京新聞・京都新聞・北日本新聞・南日本新聞ほか全国約20紙に掲載(人、文化欄など)小熊宏尚記者 2015年4月・5月 / Interview article by one of the most prominent wire services Kyodo News, by Horonao Oguma, 2015 Featured in People, Art, or Culture section in approx. 20 newspapers throughout Japan such as such as Tokyo Newspaper, Kyoto Newspaper, Minami Nihon Newspaper, and nation wide Sankei Newspaper among others.

共同通信の記事 Article by Kyodo News

Best of June 2015 on Vienna, Austria based Josef Chladek’s Photo Books.

Misako Oba’s [FAUSTUS] was among those photo books.
The authors of those photo books are: Dávila, Kojima, Sanai, Arnold, Scheurwater, Bitesnich, Kitajima, Pedan, Murakami, Georgiou, Oba, Leiter, Koublis, Blanch.

Best of June 2015 on josef chladek photobooks.

Best of June 2015 on josef chladek photobooks.

For more details of Best of June 2015 and to see the sample pages of those books, you can visit their website.

Best of June

 >> 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

 >> Japanese 日本語

“After Misako Oba left a successful career as a broadcaster for Japanese television in Japan and New York, following some personal hardships in Japan, she moved to New York and began anew as a photographic artist. Oba’s early work, in the series “El Camino” and “Fireflies,” showed idiosyncratic interpretations in a mysterious and partly abstract manner of such cities as Tokyo, Paris, Brussels, and New York. The work was just gaining critical interest when her progress was interrupted by a new personal tragedy in 2006—the discovery that she had the very rare medical condition A.V.M. (Arterio-Venous Malformation) in the pinkie of her right hand. Heavy spontaneous bleeding and several failed medical procedures lead to the dreaded decision to undergo an amputation in the U.S. without the presence of her family, who were in Japan.

Her project FAUSTUS, dealing with this personal struggle to come to an understanding and acceptance of a rare medical condition that struck her unexpectedly, clearly shows her power of turning these horrific events into a stunning art project of universal application. This work is personal but universal, a drama exploring the most basic of human tales—facing fear and “loss” with courage. Had she not been an artist of exceptional ability and courage, this trauma would have remained known only to herself and circle of close friends and family. Instead it stands as a visible monument to a human spiritual journey, an X-ray of a young woman’s soul. I believe that all of her art reflects, to a degree few artists can match, a clear-eyed appraisal of the conditions of her emotions and her soul. Her work is uniquely passionate and engaging.

The self-portraits work might be compared to Francesca Woodman’s and Cindy Sherman’s quest for an alternate identity. In Oba’s case, one sees the perseverance of a loving spirit, and a validation of the eternal beauty of the female persona. [……]”

Quote from Afterword of [FAUSTUS] by Gary Edwards,
Gary Edwards Gallery
Washington, DC

Gallery Director Gary Edwards

(By Gary Edwards) >> English

「大庭みさこは、日本やニューヨークでテレビ局アナウンサーとしてのキャリアを去った後、私生活でのいくつかの苦難に続いて、その後ニューヨークに移る機会を得、写真作家・アーティストとして新たにスタートを切った。初期の作品シリーズ「El Camino」や「Fireflies」は、東京やパリ、ニューヨーク等の都市を、神秘的かつ抽象味を帯びた独特な解釈で表現し、それらが写真界で重要な関心を集め始めていた2006 年、彼女はまた新たな悲劇̶に直面する。右手小指がAVM(動静脈奇形)という稀な自然出血症状に見舞われた。日本に家族を残したまま、米国での度重なる医療処置と最終的な小指切除手術の決断に迫られる中、大庭の「FAUSTUS」シリーズは、一見私的なものに見えるが、勇気を持って恐怖と「喪失」に向き合い、人間として誰にでも起こりうるもっとも基本的な物語を探求した普遍的なドラマである。(略)彼女が並外れた能力と勇気を持った芸術家でなければ、このトラウマは単に本人や親しい友人・家族の内だけにとどまっていただろう。私は大庭のアート全てが、ある意味、一握りのアーティストだけが持っている、自分の感情や魂の状態を鋭く洞察する力を反映していると信じている。」
大庭みさこ写真集『FAUSTUS』あとがき –
イリー・エドワーズ より一部抜粋

ゲイリー・エドワーズ(写真画廊ディレクター Gallery director)