“I don’t believe in perfection, but I am a perfectionist”. This statement, almost a witty oxymoron, is denoting the singularity, but also the universality of photographer Reylia Slaby’s artistic approach.
On paper, Reylia can also be seen as an oxymoron. Born and raised in Japan from American parents, she has been exposed all her life to identity questioning from her peers and also herself. Hence she decided to use photography as a tool to prove that her racial heritage and her culture were not intertwined. Indeed, this former child model, graphite pencil artist and web designer produces her own vision of Japan, adjoining traditional elements such as kimonos, fans and sunshades, straight from a geisha’s daily life, to more conceptual principles. Each picture is a breaking of lyrical and whimsical beauty close to the precipice of tragedies that William Shakespeare would not have denied (Reylia’s heroine reminds of Ophelia or Juliet). Her dynamic use of rain and swathes of fabric completes the grandiosity of her poetic universe.
If the artist admits that her work involves a lot of her personal emotions, it is easy to believe her, as her art is unquestionably moving and gripping. On her blog, she explains the concept and making of her shots, but she also shares advice for photographers, with an off-putting humility and philosophy.