I first saw work by the Tokyo photographic artist, Photographer Hal, when I explored the winning images for the New Directions exhibition at Wallspace Gallery, jurored by Debra Klomp Ching. Because the image was small, I thought that he had photographed some kind of candy, but when I saw the large photograph hanging on the gallery wall, I realized that my brain could not make the connection that what I was looking at were people.
The images below are from a series, Flesh Love, where couples are vacuumed sealed in futon cases. Needless to say this is disarming work, but at the same time, it’s work that changes our perceptions. He has a book of this work available for ipads.
I go to kabukicho in shinjuku, underground bars in shibuya and many other places which are full of activity like luscious night time bee-hives. When i see a couple of interest I will begin to negotiate. I’m sure that many people initially think of my proposal as unusual or even look through me like I am completely invisible, but I always push forward with my challenge to them. The models appear from all walks of life and individually have included musicians, dancers, strippers, laborers, restaurant and bar managers, photographers, businessmen and women, unsettled and unemployed, et al.
In my early explorations I used to capture the models in a small room or enclosed space, these images can be seen in the photo books called Pinky & Killer, and Pinky & Killer DX.
During the photo session I often prompt the couple to pose as if they’re in a sticker photo booth, an extension of the regular passport type which cause friends to pose in many alternative and fun ways. The focal point of the concept was then extended for the publication Couple Jam to include the use of the models bathtub, usually in their own home. I think of the bathroom as being one of the most private and intimate place in anyone’s home, this provoked a shyness in the models, and created a unique excitement and inspiration in the scene. In my most recent project I have applied the use of the vacuum sealed package, used to store futon covers in everyday life, I found that the couple can be sealed in, with the appearance of being freshly wrapped I have called this event Fresh Love.