Michiko Kiseki Photo Exhibition Privire

The photo exhibition title has been changed to Privire, which is a Romanian word meaning look or gaze.

As I went about my daily life in Japan, which had regained its normalcy after the COVID-19 disaster, I suddenly wanted to see a place that was the opposite of where I was now. In this age of digital life and AI, where we can see and know everything on an LCD screen,it is important to touch things, to touch people, to go somewhere on purpose, to touch culture, to touch shocking things, to touch kindness. Nothing is better than this. Values are born from our current actions and past experiences, but as we glimpse the unknown world, these values change as well.

One day, I learned about the Roma, a nomadic ethnic group residing in Central and Eastern Europe, with a rich sense of color. As a people without a country, they have always been discriminated against and oppressed by society; even today poverty and prejudice still remain. In the summer of 2022, I traveled to Eastern Europe and Romania, hoping to meet the Roma people. Romania is located in Eastern Europe, east of the Balkan Peninsula, and has a population of about 19 million.The country's name derives from the Latin for Land of the Romans,but it is also a nation formed by a diverse range of ethnic groups. I often wondered where I was after I landed in the capital city of Bucharest. Sometimes lights reminded me of America; sometimes smells reminded me of Asia; sometimes there were European landscapes; and sometimes there were Middle Eastern scents. Although Bucharest is not the capital of a developing country in the sense that it has a well-developed infrastructure, the communist era remains strong in Bucharest, and the city as a whole is gray. There were many lonely glances, and the way of life of the Roma people seen in the villages and ruins on the outskirts of the city was somewhat sad. However, as I traveled northward through Romania over the course of three weeks, I met many people with kind gazes,and some of the country towns had beautiful townscapes that made me sigh. Wherever I went, I found friendly Romanian people. A boy at the train station with whom I conversed in Japanese and Romanian for more than 30 minutes and a family I met in a village on the outskirts of town with endless laughter seemed to have accepted an Asian, who is rare in Romania, with open arms.

After passing through Hungary and Bulgaria, I came back to Romania. Since Europe is connected by land, we could cross the borders on foot. However, there are different smells, air and breath, and every place has its own identity. In recent years, all countries have been developed in the same way, with the same malls and the same scenery, but Eastern Europe seems to have remained as is.
People were living their own way. Romania was a place where I felt the warmth of their gaze.

At the time of my visit, the war in neighboring Ukraine was just six months old, and although the situation was chaotic, the Romanian people were quietly watching the war. We must remember that the war is still going on.

Michiko Kiseki

Michiko Kiseki Profile

Born in Belgium, moved to Hong Kong and France due to her father's work.Returned to Japan at the age of 14. Influenced by Magnum Photos, Kiseki majored in photojournalism attending Nihon University College of Art in Photography but was fascinated by the power of music. After working in a studio and an assistant, she became independent and while working on portraits of musicians, live shows, and advertising, she has held numerous solo and group exhibitions. Nominated for multiple photography awards. Published DRYNESS in 2017, a private photo book taken with admiration of the Japanese countryside.Working recklessly as a freelance photographer to build her career she fought conflicts and decided to travel to Hong Kong where she spent her childhood to reflect on herself anew. Overwhelmed by the strength of the people, she visited Hong Kong in July 2019 this time for a long-term stay to capture their powerful lives. There she encountered the 2019 Hong Kong Pro-Democracy Protests, and her heart trembled for those who raised their voices against the wrong and continued to take photos at the forefront bawling her eyes out. Awarded the Grand Prize of the 4th Photo Publishing Awards in 2021. Published VOICE Hong Kong 2019 in February 2022. Stands on the starting line as a photographer once again. Kiseki faces photography with the philosophy of taking pictures true to her feelings.