At first sight, it’s hard to put your finger on why Japanese teenager Izumi Miyazaki has become so popular on the Internet. Her self-portrait photos have been praised for being ‘surreal’ and ‘quirky’ because of how she manages to make the mundane seem interesting, as well as ‘humorous’ for posing in strange situations with a deadpan expression.
Sure, her compositions are at times humorous, and at other times wacky, but it isn’t as though we haven’t seen this before. One critic used the brand new word ‘selfie’ to invest Miyazaki’s photographs with newness, as though her ‘selfies’ are better than ours. This makes them seem different, and perhaps explains the interest in her work.
Another explanation might be her youth (she’s 18). Miyazaki does have talent, and at her tender age it is clearly a precocious one. Her photographs remind me of a Michel Gondry film, in particular The Science of Sleep, in which a wacky character with a fertile imagination invents his own world. There is an unabashed youthful brilliance in Miyazaki’s art, a happiness, a slice of comedy, a piece of optimism, and perhaps we can say that they are ‘creative selfies’, but it’ll be interesting to see where her career takes her next. I think she’s tailor made for the movies.