October 4, 2012 - October 28, 2012
For the majority of his photographic projects, Photographer Hal seeks out couples in underground Tokyo venues to pose as the subjects of his images. His series entitled “Flesh Love” depicts a wide range of paired individuals encased within the airless spaces of vacuum-sealed futon bags. While these images visualize the physical and emotional intimacy these couples share, an underlying element of danger is also present. As the shrink wrap threatens to suffocate the lovers before the shutter clicks, we are reminded that love, in all of its ecstasy, can easily implode into claustropho-bia–or perhaps a state of oneness.
“After the couple gets in the vacuum pack, I suck the air out with a vacuum cleaner until there’s none left. This gives me 10 seconds to take the shot. In this extremely limited time, I can’t release the shutter more than twice. I’ve been in there myself, and the fear I felt was overwhelming. As the shooting continues over multiple takes, the pressure of the vacuum seal grows stronger. At the same time, the two bodies start to communicate, and whether through unevenness of limbs or the curve of joints, they begin to draw a shape of what they want to express. The two lovers draw closer until they finally transform into a single being. Looking at these vacuum-sealed packs of love, we can imagine a more peaceful world. For me, the vacuum pack is only a means: the important thing is connecting to someone.”
Photographer Hal was born in 1971 in Tokyo, Japan, where he continues to live and work. He began his career as a commercial photographer for a Japanese advertising firm but he has since gained international attention for his unique conceptual portraits of Tokyo couples. His work has been exhibited in multiple venues in Tokyo and was recently featured in group shows at Wall Space Gallery in Santa Barbara and the “Art of Photography Show” in San Diego.