Rinko Kawauchi, considered one of the most important Japanese photographers working today, has been awarded the Outstanding Contribution to Photography prize, as part of the Sony World Photography Awards 2023.
The award recognises one person or a group of people every year who have made a significant impact on the world of photography.
Kawauchi is its 16th recipient, joining the ranks with the likes of Martin Parr (2017), Candida Hofer (2018), Nadav Kander (2019), Gerhard Steidl (2020), Graciela Iturbide (2021) and Edward Burtynsky (2022).
Kawauchi's works are ephemeral as she captures snippets of everyday life with a unique luminosity and sense of poetry. She's influenced by the Japanese religion of Shinto in which adherents believe everything has a spirit or energy called "kami". This is captured through Kawauchi's lens via shimmering lights reflected in a mirror or sunbeams trickling through a forest canopy, for example.
Her photography has been compared to haikus, the short-form poetry style that originated in Japan, as it reflects on life's bigger picture in short bursts and, in Kawauchi's case, through spare, visual language that lends a single, seemingly small moment weight.
More than 20 of the photographer's works will be shown at the Sony World Photography Awards 2023 exhibition, on display at Somerset House in London from April 14 to May 1.
The selection of images spans Kawauchi's 20-year career and highlights various milestones and themes across some of her most notable series, including Illuminance (2011), AILA (2004), Utatane (2001) and Ametsuchi (2013), a series that showcases a different technique and style from the artist as she shifts her focus from the micro to the macro.
"This award is a recognition of my work and will encourage me in my future activities," Kawauchi said.
"The exhibition brings a body of work that not only characterises my practice, but also presents an ambitious series created with a different method and approach. Through my photography, I seek to create works of art that act as a signpost for me to examine more closely the experiences I am living and what I am looking at."
Winners in the Student, Open and Professional competitions of next year's Sony World Photography Awards will be announced on April 13.
More information is available at www.worldphoto.org