Women in Photography 2017: Asian Women Photographers’ Showcase Slideshow Projection
The Passenger’s Present | Miki Soejima

The Passenger’s Present proposes a multilayered view of Japanese contemporary society at a time in which the country faces great uncertainty. The work ponders how our imagination can initiate a process, which questions the narratives that surround us and the frameworks that sustain them.

It comprises photographs taken in and around Tokyo, Okinawa and other places since 2013, which are interspersed with constructed still-life images. A sequence of pictures – a kamikaze aircraft, a nuclear reactor, reappearing rainbows, American candy named after the atomic bomb – evokes a web of histories, myths and constructed narratives, which lie beneath the surface of the society.

The Passenger’s Present starts with an old photograph of people dancing during a memorial service for the war dead of the Japanese Imperial Army. Above them, the flags of Japan, of the Imperial Army and of the puppet state Manchukuo are visible. This photograph was selected from the author’s grandfather’s photo album, which he made between 1931 and 1945, while he was in Japanese-occupied Northeast China, Manchuria. He once said, “There is nothing to believe anymore”, as if to remind himself. Reviewing this historical period and its legacy, while reflecting on the meaning of these words became an important guide to look at the present and to develop the work.

About Miki Soejima
Born in 1980 in Japan, Miki Soejima started working with photographs after studying Cultural Anthropology at Ryukoku University in Kyoto, and completing a one-year exchange program at the University of Westminster in London.

She is the winner of the 2012 First Book Award (MACK/National Media Museum, Bradford) and her book Mrs. Merryman’s Collection was published by MACK in 2012. She was nominated for the Ihei Kimura Award in 2013, the Foam Paul Huf Award in 2014 and 2015, and the Shpilman Prize in 2016. She participated in Light Work Artist-in-Residence program in 2015.

Selected exhibitions include: From Here On at Arts Santa Mònica, Barcelona(2013), The First Book Award at Media Space, Science Museum, London(2015), The Passenger’s Present(solo) at Light Work, NY(2016), Il y a de l’autre at Les Rencontres d’Arles Photographie, Arles(2016), The Photography Show, presented by AIPAD at Pier94, NY(2017) and the amana collection at IMA gallery in Tokyo(2017).


Women in Film & Photography Showcase Programme
:: Women in Photography Exhibition: 13 Oct to 19 Nov
:: Guided photographer & curator tour: 13 Oct, Fri, 230pm to 330pm

:: Panel Discussion – Woman Photographer: 13 Oct, Fri, 730pm to 9pm
:: Artist talks: 14 Oct, Sat, 2pm to 430pm
:: Slideshow Projection featuring Asian Women Photographers’ Showcase: 15 Nov, Wed, 730pm to 830pm
:: Women in Film 2017 (19 to 28 Oct)