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Work / Photography

Yakisoba noodles, cigarettes and Tokyo streets in Monika Mogi’s coming-of-age series

Monika Mogi’s photographs were first published in the 2011 Photo Issue of Vice when she was just 18. A self-taught photographer who grew up in America before moving to Japan at the age of 12, she has been taking pictures for seven years now, and has been shooting campaigns for American Apparel for four of those. She also shoots for Kim Gordon’s fashion label X-Girl, has published work in Japanese editions of Nylon, recently photographed the upcoming cover of a well-known art mag (although which one we’re not at liberty to say just yet), and has been shooting Kiko Mizuhara for a wave of new projects in Japan. Pretty impressive for a 22-year-old.

Monika’s personal work goes even further to cement her name as a young photographer able to synthesise some of the off-kilter sensibility of Japanese pop culture with a darker, more vulnerable and often feminine perspective. Her black and white series Shion – a type of flower – takes its name from her mother’s high school all-girl rock band, and restages feelings and lonely moments from her life so far.

“These are all personal events of mine that I made my friends re-enact,” she says. The girl eating noodles over a sink in a small apartment, sitting next to her grandmother on the sofa, looking down at the teeming streets of Tokyo are all versions of Monika. Confessional and sometimes awkward, the series is an introspective, singular and self-analysing look at girlhood.

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Monika Mogi: Shion

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Monika Mogi: Shion

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Monika Mogi: Shion

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Monika Mogi: Shion

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Monika Mogi: Shion