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Momo Okabe


What is your ideal office?


It should be in my home, since I can start working right away without putting on makeup.


Can you describe the last dream you had?


I had a dream last night that I was looking at drag queens running away all over Shinjuku, and I happened to make eye contact with one of them.


What do you remember from your travels as a child?

I used to live in France when I was a child, and my family traveled around all over Europe with me. I remember I felt sad, lonely and uneasy arriving at the unfamiliar locations, rather than excited about new things there. I also remember that I always looked at landscapes passing by through the car window.


What has been the most violent or dramatic reaction to your work?

I have never had any violent, dramatic or negative reactions to my work, since I’ve never taken a photo for other people. So I don’t care how they think or feel about my work.


Would you consider yourself a synaesthesiac?


I don’t know if it is called a synaesthesiac, but I know my memory always associates colors, and my feelings toward memory reflect my work.


Do you prefer daytime or nighttime, and why?


I like the time when the sun goes down, early in the evening. I remember my childhood days in summer.


If there is magic somewhere on earth, where would we find it?

I believe that magic only resides in things and experiences you have actually dealt with. If you don’t forget about your own experiences, you can find magic in art and literature and you can also create magic and you can also own it for yourself.


Do you only shoot subjects with whom you already have a certain level of intimacy?

I only take photos of people I like. I’ve never tried to develop intimacy with people for my work, but I take a photo from the desire that I really want to know who they are, and I also want to find out the other side of their being through my lens. I feel most fortunate when they open themselves up while I take their picture.


What is the most beautiful thing about the human body?

I definitely think a naked body is the most beautiful.


What would you do if you lost your sense of sight?


I would be very scared if I lost my sense of sight. That would be the same as losing my life.


How would you describe your three most defining traits?

I dislike people. I am a coward. I am excessively self- conscious.


Where do you feel most safe?


I feel most safe and relaxed when I am traveling abroad. In Japan, I sometimes feel smashed by my excessive self- consciousness when I am on the train and walking in the street, since I am very scared of others’ gazes. On the other hand, if I go to a place really far from Japan, I feel as if I become transparent or invisible as if I am not myself, or not even a human being, and I feel very easy.


How do you hope the concept of gender will evolve over the next few decades?

I think we start noticing that we should be more free about gender and there is no taboo anywhere in the world. All the people should feel liberated and have no guilt about their sexuality or gender over the next few decades.


Do you remember the first time you felt alive?


I felt alive when I took a photo.

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