Kumi Oguro’s submitted work for the Neko Project is an exact antithesis to the phenomenon of kawaii cat photography. First of all, she claims that she is not really a cat-lover (despite her tenderness for the two cats of the gallery where she works), and absolutely no fan of “kawaii” cat photography. Her participation in the Neko Project was quite a challenge, but the result is unexpected and astonishing enough to draw your attention.
Her images “of” cats are rather “about” cats, about what she personally associates with them. For instance she refers to: the fact that she used to be very much allergic to cats; the memory of a one-eyed cat she once saw, since imperfection draws her attention; the fact that domestic cats will never lose their instinct as a killer/hunter, they are on one hand cute and lovely but their claws are rather sharp and clinging; and finally there are any number of associations and double meanings attached to the word “pussy”.
Kumi Oguro adds to this statement: “It’s not so much about ‘conveying to the audience a different way of seeing reality’. ‘Reality’ is a bit too big a word. I just have to go back to my original intention. This is a personal work, a challenge for me to make cat photography while not being a cat lover, not having much feeling for them. So, again, I ended up creating images of what cats mean to me, what I associate with them. Not only that, I don’t want to give a lot of explanations what they are about. If my images for this project are placed alone, not in the context of the “Neko project”, nobody would understand what they are about. However, by placing these images in that context, and by comparison with the works of others, I hope that people will see, maybe slowly, what my intention is.
“This work looks quite different from my ‘usual’ work, but I often make images without showing too much (fragments), not giving much explanation. In that way, this piece is also quite typical “Kumi Oguro”, quite consistent with my work “.
© Kumi Oguro