Naohiro Ninomiya (1969) was born in Nagoya, Japan. After having worked in a company in Japan, he moved to France in 1998 and changed his direction to art.
Ninomiya takes most of his photographs in his native region of Gifu, and prints and finishes them by himself in his atelier in France. The form of his work is very varied, because he is always looking for the appropriate support and technique for each project. Simply printing his negative images in his studio is not the goal of his work. He also wishes to engrave the moment of the atelier in his work. In the increasingly flat world he tries to make his work more rough and tangible.
Glanage (2020 - )
About Ninomiya's newest series 'Glanage' he has stated the following:
"When I was a child in Japan, I used to pick up and collect lots of things while wandering around my house. All these things that I was gathering were pieces of my own valuable treasure. 40 years later, I became a photographer. Today, the way I am working is a lot different from what I used to do during my first years. I determine a concept, I choose a shooting method, I define a dimension and I proceed. I am very methodical. Method is paramount to my creation process. It has been a year now since I have begun to take pictures with a compact camera, but this time without bothering about the concept, the size or anything else but the act of picking up things, just as I used to do. I am collecting pictures now as I was accumulating things when I was a child. During this past year, I have started to feel a sense of emancipation. I have shot many rolls of film, picking up a considerable number of everyday pieces, artefacts, items or spots that I find interesting. And when I look at my contact sheet with a magnifying glass, my eyes sometimes get caught by a small shining gem. I then choose the good timing, determine the right print format and gem start to shine brighter, just like a diamond being cut and polished. Keeping small dimensions is important. The picture has to remain as little as a diamond. I chose to keep theses dimensions between 5 and 30 centimetres. The technique used for this series is called “orotone”, which was popularized by the American photographer and ethnologist Edward Curtis (1868-1952), who took his pictures using a derivative of this process to photograph Native Americans. The power of this series is quite impressive. I have decided to adapt this process for my work. To me, these simple and humble moments are like looking for a kind of precious stone or religious icon. Picking up things which we don’t usually see and sublimate them as vaporous relics of a frozen present. These moments are so fugitive, so fragile, so beautiful. Our life is, in the end, an accretion of this kind of moments. This way of doing things is much like gleaning, to me. And as France is my land of welcome, this is why I entitled this series with the French word “Glanage”. It felt natural, perfectly fit, but also refers, as a tribute, to my family of traditional farmers, back in Japan. My intention is to pursue this series until my last days. I don’t know how long this will be, but it is definitely meant to be a long-term project. And as this collection of gleaned items will grow, hanging on the wall, it will more and more look, from afar, like the Milky Way. A Milky Way that will expand. A golden Milky Way that could be seen a vital lead for my life."
"One day a friend told me that we are like fish that have to keep swimming against the current without knowing why. A stream passes in front of my house in Japan. Today it is very dirty. But there are always carp coming back to the source in the spring. Since he told me about the fish, a kind of friendly connivance has developed between the carp and me. I started to photograph these carp swimming against the tide. First in front of my house, then around. I chose Minowashi paper for printing. It is a traditional paper made in water that comes down from the same region as my stream, the mountainous region of Gifu. Fixing the image of these carps on this paper seemed very beautiful to me."
Taki (2010 - 2018)
For his work 'Taki' Ninomiya found inspiration by the work 'Nachi Waterfall', an example of so-called suijaku syncretic Shinto-Buddhist painting. The painting also provides important information for research on various aspects of landscape paintings. In this series of 'Taki' waterfalls he worked with a Toyo Viez 45 GII. Camera.
Ninomiya's work got selected for awards as winner of the prize La Découverte, France in 2004 and several awards in 2006, winner of the first prize of Arts du Rotary, Strasbourg, France, a selection at Voies Off des Rencontres d'Arles, France, and a selection at Descubrimientos de Photo Espana, Spain. After he got 3rd place of EMERGENT ARTIST AWARD in 2012.