Rasen Kaigan

Lieko Shiga Artist 
Akaaka Publisher 
March 2013 Publication date 
Offset Printing 
280 pages
25.7 cm × 36.4 cm
¥8400 (~$0)

With Rasen Kaigan, Shiga has set down a marker not just for Japanese photographers but probably for photographers across the world. In Shiga's previous work, she demonstrated the ability to create technically skilled, phantasmagoric images which seemed to be plucked right out of her own imagination. While the work was a critical success at home—she won the 2007 Ihee Kimura Photography Prize—she also found an audience abroad. To be sure, she could have continued to create work in this fashion and cemented a career for herself. 


However, Shiga says that she felt the need to create work in a different way. After creating such personal images, she wanted to show a higher degree of responsbility towards her subjects, and this is one reason that she moved to the coastal town of Kitakama (Miyagi Prefecture) in 2009. Living in Kitakama and working as the town’s official photographer created a connection between Shiga and the town’s residents. In a sense, Shiga was not so much a “photographer” as an “organizer,” working together with other people in order to realize the situations that we can now recognize as her “work.” Of course, that’s just one of the many roles—land artist, archivist, geologist—she plays here.


This book is nominally a catalog for an exhibition that she held at the end of 2012 at Sendai Mediatheque.