Artlessness is an oxymoronic virtue. No artist wants to produce work truly lacking in artistic value, nor can a true artist pretend to be the naïve producer of ingenuous work free from any historical, aesthetic awareness.
Artlessness is a balancing act, and although it may not be a concept Seino Yoshiko herself would ever apply to her work, it's a balancing act she performs with intelligence and grace. Her small, unpaginated book of full-bleed, landscape-format color images has an eclectic subject matter that implies Seino spent an afternoon or so with her camera just happening to take a picture of whatever catches her fancy: chaotic, or sometimes quite dull, urban locales; plants whose growth seems either overabundant or neglected; the occasional casual portraits of whom I assume are friends or family. But within this mix, Seino knows what she is after.
Her skies are most often white or gray, and when the sun is out she sometimes shoots directly into it, backlighting her subjects against the glare. Angled, magic hour light is employed to give emphasis to the black shadows it creates along with the glow it gives the buildings or plants that bask it in. Perhaps it is wrongheaded to pick a definitive image from a book with so egalitarian a nature, but for me Seino's vision is best summed up in a photograph of a the façade of a what appears to be a residential complex. An inexplicable capitalized letter "R" sits almost dead center on the overhang above a row of curtained windows. A sloping concrete drive ends at a drain that then goes on to a tiled walk that angles into a door lost in the blackest of shadows. Beside the door is an unkempt, half-hearted attempt at a rock garden, and this is what ties the image together. Seino takes the geometry of the sloping drive, the concrete, metal drains, the tile patio, and the struggling plants and fixes them into her own unkempt but perfectly composed rock garden. And like a garden, the image invites the viewer to pause, reflect, and then move on, possibly refreshed and certainly curious to see what is around the next corner.
—Charles Dee Mitchell