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Haruhiko Kawaguchi, who goes by the name Photographer Hal, is a Tokyo photographer and artist whose project FLESH LOVE literally vacuum packs couples of all types in 100x150x74 cm plastic bags. The idea is to keep love fresh forever. Once the air is sucked out of the bag by a vacuum cleaner, Kawaguchi only has about 10-20 seconds to take his pictures. Any longer and he would risk causing harm to his subjects.
Thus far 80 couples, many of whom Kawaguchi met at nightclubs in Tokyo, have participated in the project.
"When you embrace your lover, sometimes you wish to melt right into them.
To realize this wish, I've been photographing couples in small, or even cramped spaces like motels and bathtubs.
As my work has become more and more intense, I've noticed that communication is indispensable.
This time, I reached the point of photographing couples in vacuum-sealed packs, on a set that I've constructed in my own kitchen. The lights are in the ceiling, so I just flip one switch and have everything ready.
I have a few different colored paper backgrounds, which I can leave rolled up in the corner 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." -- (Excerpts from the author's postscript)
Kawaguchi says that his female subjects have reacted much better to the bizarre vacuum-packing process than his male subjects. Women have remained calm while the men have been prone to struggle for air and feel claustrophobic. In one case, a male even wet himself. The women's most common concern is they they look good. Vanity and incontinence aside, here's a look at 42 of the photos from FLESH LOVE:
"FLESH LOVE" is one of the most unique photograph projects in the world and received the 1st place award in The Art of Photography Show 2011 held in San Diego, USA. France's Photo and art magazine "AZART" featured it inside and on the cover of their March 2011 issue.
FLESH LOVE PRINTS :
You can purchase individual prints from this series here
FLRSH LOVE GALLERY BOOK:
Or a softcover photobook of the show with 72 images here
FLESH LOVE ITUNES APP
An application for iPad of "FLESH LOVE" is available on itunes as well.
Haruhiko Kawaguchi aka Photographer Hal
A special thanks to Jaci Lerner for bringing this to my attention!