Izima Kaoru (Japanese, b.1954) is a photographer known for creating vivid, if macabre, scenes. He was born in Kyoto, Japan, and his creative life commenced in 1977 with his first exhibition, It’s a Beautiful Day. He expanded his interests in 1980 with the launch of a free paper known as Sale. Later in the decade, Kaoru participated in the establishment of a cassette-based magazine, Tra. By the time he founded the fashion magazine Zyappu in 1994, he had been involved in photography, film, and video for 15 years.
Most of the photographer’s exhibitions were in Tokyo, Amsterdam, and New York during this period. The early 1990s saw Kaoru enter the phase for which he is most well-known. Combining beauty and glamour with bloodshed and revulsion, he began to photograph attractive models and actresses, all elegantly adorned, in sequential shots where their own deaths are portrayed. His success with this motif led to exhibitions throughout Europe, taking place in London, Cologne, Dresden, and Verona. Preferring to leave the circumstances of these grisly scenes to the viewers’ imaginations, Kaoru begins with wide-angle shots and narrows to close-ups. In doing so, he makes the woman herself the focus, rather than her death. In fact, he lets the actress or model determine the scene by eliciting her opinion on the perfect death.
With this method, Kaoru is able to produce still pictures that look like a film. Many of these works were assembled in the 1995 photo series Landscapes with a Corpse. Subsequent photos were bound and published by Korinsha Press in 20 Landscapes with a Corpse. However, Kaoru is not bound to one theme. His photo sequence One Sun, which follows the solar body across the sky, was lauded by the New York Photo Review as "A primal experience, and yet one that can only be visualized through the use of photography." The photographer is represented by Von Lintel Gallery in New York, among other entities. Kaoru presently resides in Tokyo.