Karen Knorr goes East

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Hei, photographed in Tokyo,

The Journey, Hie Torii, Tokyo, série Monogatari, 2015

American photographer Karen Knorr was born in Frankfurt and lives in London. She will be like every year, very present at Paris Photo (Nov. 11 to 15) at Grand Palais with her classical photographs of stuffed animals in exotic decors. A new show of her Japanese photographs, has just opened at Les Filles du Calvaire gallery and there, she takes a new step away from animals, in recreating contemporary geisha portraits.

Karyukai, a new series of modern geishas

Miho and Michiko, Capitol Hotel, Tokyo, série Karyukai, 2015

Mostly known for her fabulous Indian interiors « India Song » 2008-210, collected in two books, Karen Knorr started in France with “Fables”,  photos shot at Musée Carnavalet and Musée Condé in Chantilly. Her previous work in black and white, is a series of gentlemen in London clubs (1981-1983) which I discovered at Musée du Jeu de Paume and particularly love.

Journey to the Great Sage

Journey to the Great Sage, Hosen-in Temple Ohara, Japon, série Monogatari, 2015

Being such an interlope, she has a critical eye for all societies and, this time again, she surprises us with large Japanese birds (from the Tokyo zoo) set inside and outside Kyoto or Nara decors, and collected in the series  “Monogatari ».

Guardian of the Temple

Guardian of the Temple, Nazen-ji Temple, Kyoto, série Monogatari, 2015

But she also shot a series of « Karyukai » portraits of geishas, (in reality friends of hers made up to look like geishas) who wrote haikus in the picture and have a very contemporary look. The result is both familiar and completely new with a strong relation between her artificial birds and the ladies’ kimonos printed in lotuses and birds. Karen Knorr is great fun and her pictures reflect her personality ! (17 rue des Filles du Calvaire, Paris 3)

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One Comment on “Karen Knorr goes East”

  1. Laure, hi

    Thank you for the photographs by Karen Knorr. I love the photos of the heron in Japanese sites. Will look for it or its spirit when next there.
    I don’t know Knorr’s work at all but will certainly look it up now that you point the way.


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