Hiromix is a young Japanese photographer born in Tokyo in 1976. She has already published three photo books: "Girls Blue" (Rockin' on, inc., 1996), “Japanese Beauty” (Magazine House, 1997) and “Hiromix” (Steidl Publishers, 1998). Almost a star in her country, Hiromix (her real name is Toshikawa Hiromi) has acquired recognition after Nobuyoshi Araki nominated her as the winner of a photo contest to which she participated with a 36-page photo book made of color copies of regular prints. The small book title was "Seventeen Girl Days" and it belonged to the tradition of photo diary (a popular genre in Japan as the story of Araki himself can tell) with the unexpected vision of a 17 y.o. high school girl into the girl's everyday life made of pets, records, posters, flowers, friends, and self portraits.
These random moments caught in the act of being, remains one of peculiar features of Hiromix's work. Beside several activities, Hiromix also writes a diary for an Internet magazine, she does some advertising and she photographs musicians for a music magazine named "Rockin' On Japan".
According to Philibert Ono — director of the established Website “
PhotoGuide Japan” and one of the few to have written some words about the work of Hiromix — Hiromix went through an amazing success in such a short period of time:
“She has legitimized the photo diary style of photography which is nothing but a bunch of photos of oneself, friends, and everyday things. All of a sudden, other young girls started photographing the ordinary and mundane things in their lives or their nude bodies. The penchant for imitation is still alive and well in Japan. High school girls also got into the act by carrying and using single-use cameras for capturing whatever captures their fancy. The photos were just a bunch of snaps that any person on the street could take.”
As I said, Hiromix photographs are personal snapshots, random moments caught in the act of being. With the exception of “Japanese Beauty” (1997) — where she shoots fashion models instead of herself, though the Hiromix style allows her to portray them almost as friends — the other two books are a collection of miscellaneous snapshots wherein young girls like herself and friends are pictured.
Usually there are no nudes in these books. Though extremely good-looking and sexy herself Hiromix rarely relies on her body to attract the viewer, and the combination of mini-skirts, hot pants, underwear, creates a sort of girlie world where youth and sex appeal play their role, but they are not crucial in seducing the viewer. It is more likely that her photographs are signs of her everyday life, little thoughts that do not expect to be included in a larger frame, though I'm sure Hiromix will soon find more specific themes to develops with her camera.
It is quite evident by simply giving a look at these three books that we should consider the genre of the photo diary as a sort of visual array of sketches that pin down those salient moments we run though during the course of the day.
It is, somehow, a cinematic technique, with the difference that her photographs do not build a specific story. The girlie world, magazines, rock music, fashion, flowers, the cityscape remains the peculiar features of Hiromix's work and presents the photo diary style of photography as the Japanese contribution to our favourite theoretical mix in the 900: art & life.

Gianni Romano

Cover of the last book by Hiromix

All images in this page are courtesy of Patrick Remy, Paris and Steidl Publishers, Gottingen.

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