Japanese-born artist Ayumi Tanaka’s series Wish You Were Here pushes the boundaries of traditional photography in this series derived from memories of her childhood. Rather than replicate exact experiences, Tanaka strives to convey the emotions behind these events through photo-collages that are packed with symbolism. The resulting tableaus mesh personal recollections of her childhood with traditional Japanese fairytales.
The collages are assembled into dioramas and are comprised of layered negatives, cut-paper, and small objects, which are then re-photographed. This combination of three-dimensional media with layered negatives adds depth not often found in photo-collage. Though the imagery is heavily constructed, each piece maintains a sense of spontaneity that one might find in family snapshots. This causality reflects Tanaka’s state of mind when attempting to recall long-ago events. By manipulating her negatives to piece together a scene, she alters the landscape of her memories.
All images © Ayumi Tanaka