OK, my translation of Yuko Tada’s series “山遊鹿々人々図” is fanciful, but it’s not too far off. In order, the characters in Japanese mean “mountain, play, deer, deer, person, person, image.” I like seeing the words “Deer” and “Deer” next to each other in English.
Anyway, I found Tada’s work through Osaka’s Third Gallery Aya. These photos were taken at Nara, a city in the vicinity of Kyoto famous for massive temples and friendly deer. Nara is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan, so even just searching in English you can find more than 20,000 photos tagged “nara” and “deer” on Flickr. Still, even working with a subject that could be easily dismissed as a cliche, I thought that Tada found something worth looking at. You can tell from her website that she’s aligning herself with the “kawaii girl photo” aesthetic, hardly a movement renowned for its artistic integrity, but whatever, if the work is good it’s good.