Image from Izima Kaoru's "Landscapes with a Corpse" photographic Memento Mori series

Landscapes with a Corpse

ID Banner for Art 110 at CSU Long Beach for Spring Semester 2017

Image of a young man standing in front of a large wall mounted photograph from Izima Kaoru's series "Landscapes with a Corpse"

Landscapes with a Corpse, Izima Kaoru.
Kimura Yoshino wears Alexander McQueen, 2007.


to make one’s self visible in the moment of disappearance
— Izima Kaoru

Life & Death

Izima Kaoru’s twenty-year-long project of photographing Landscapes with a Corpse is as fresh and new as it is old and traditional. Art History’s Baroque Memento mori paintings while glorious in their way, tended to be a little more decomposed and a little less Prada than Kaoru’s photographs. Part fashion photography, part landscape, crime, cinema, these images are the rare opportunity to see one’s own death, and then get up and walk away from it.

Image from Izima Kaoru's "Landscapes with a Corpse" photographic Memento Mori series

Landscapes with a Corpse, Izima Kaoru.
Koike Kiko wears Gianni Versace, 2004.

Your Art Experience

In your Art110 Landscapes with a Corpse activity inspired by Kaoru, you imagine your departure, and create a photographic self-portrait. You can have all the help you like, but the image should be of yourself. Try working with other Art110 students to help each other and share props! Some of you will, no doubt, have a lot of fun with “movie blood,” although none is required, capturing the great stillness of life is sufficient. You can use any “legal” space on or off campus. Be sure to clean up.

2 Pix

In addition to beautiful clothes and ideal “departure” settings, another hallmark of Karou’s work is that he takes a series of images at very different distances from the subject: the wide image might show a huge section of Tokyo skyline, and then zoom progressively in on a body on a rooftop. In your activity try to take 2 or more images that show different context, or framing, or figure-ground relationships.

Blog It

• Blog your photos
• say a little bit about your thoughts on creating this scene. Your idea, how creating it went, and your experience of this activity.

photo looking down the atrium of a multi-story dorm with a woman's body splattered on the ground below

Robina Borrero, Art 110, Fall ’12

detail of woman's body (simulating her demise) at the bottom of a college dorm atrium with a red plastic cup splattered beside her

Robina Borrero, Art 110, Fall ’12