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NINAGAWA Mika 蜷川 実花 (1972- ) Tokyo. One of the new wave of young female photographers in Japan who appeared from the mid-1990s. Uses very strong and vivid colors.

Education Graduated from Tama Art Univ. in 1997 majoring in graphic design.

Career While still in school, won the Grand Prix award at the Hitotsubo Exhibition at Guardian Garden gallery in Ginza, Tokyo in 1996. Also won the top prize at the 13th New Cosmos of Photography contest in 1996.

Works as a photographer for magazines, CD jackets, and advertising. Photo book, 17 Sept. 97 (the day of her marriage), published in 1997. Also published two photo books in 2000: Pink Rose Suite and Sugar and Spice which won her the KIMURA Ihee Award (jointly with HIROMIX and NAGASHIMA Yurie). (2001.3.21)

Awards Konica Photo Encouragement Award, 1998; KIMURA Ihee Award, 2000.

Sample photos

Sugar and Spice

Reviewed on: 2001.04.27 Last modified: 2005-04-03

Colorful portraits of 65 Japanese women including singers, models, and actresses. This book (and another book titled Pink Rose Suite) won Mika the KIMURA Ihei Award in spring 2001.


Published: 2000.12.05 Publisher: Kawade Shobo Shinsha ISBN: 4309264433 Price in Japan: ¥2,080 Qualities: Soft cover, color photos Size: A5, 144 pp. Language: Japanese

Almost all the photos were originally taken for a commercial (CD jacket) or magazine shoot. Each photo is credited with the name of the model, stylist, hair and makeup artist, and the publication it appeared in before. Singers and actresses include TANABE Ayumi, Aco, SATO Aiko, Kahimi, Karii, TAKAHASHI Mariko, and NAKATANI Miki.

These are not studio portraits. A variety of settings are used, and always colorful. The models are not really posed. The photos seem to capture the model's spontaneous and candid moments instead. There is nothing sexy, but I prefer this book instead of Pink Rose Suite which was published almost at the same time. Pink Rose Suite is just a book of travel photos. Both books together won her the prestigious KIMURA Ihei Award in photography. She was a co-winner along with Yurie Nagashima and HIROMIX.