Photographer Hal’s “Flesh Love” captures shrink-wraped couples, families — and their homes

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Written by Oscar Holland, CNNYuki Kurihara, CNN

Haruhiko Kawaguchi takes a portrait of his family under the unusual condition of wrapping the entire house in plastic, putting it in a sealed bag, and vacuum-sealing it.

From there, Tokyo-based photographers can capture the images they need in just a few seconds before releasing their breathtaking subjects.
The striking photographs Kawaguchi describes as “family memorials” form part of his ongoing series “Love of the Meat”, which explores human intimacy by shrink-wrapping people with plastic. doing.

“When I started the series, I had some of my close friends test the time I could hold my breath, which was about 15 seconds,” Kawaguchi said in a video call from Okinawa, Japan. “So I decided to set a” 10-second rule “to open the bag after 10 seconds, regardless of whether I took a picture or not. “

Kawaguchi is a huge custom-made plastic sheet that wraps the entire house, including trees and cars. credit: Photographer Hull

Starting with an intimate image of lovers trapped in a sealable bag that once stored futons, his photographs have since expanded. In his latest series, Flesh Love All, photographers wrap couples, families, and their most important places (usually homes with wood, cars, and bikes) in custom-made plastic sheets.

Going under the name of photographer Hull, who refers to the computer spoken in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kawaguchi said his photographs were primarily about love. And while his focus has shifted from sexual to family, his goal remains the same: to draw human connections in many ways.

“(The new photo) contains a message of connection with the outside world, expressing love equally to everything,” he added. Only for ourselves ”

Creating a custom wrap and setting up a single image can take up to two weeks, but the final photo shoot requires the help of about seven people. If the photographer can’t do that, the assistant is always ready to open the bags-or cut them open in case of an emergency. He also has a portable oxygen cylinder in his hand and also has a spray to keep the subject cool during hot summer photography.

In his previous series "The love of flesh is back," Kawaguchi asked the couple to take pictures in a place that was meaningful to them.

In the previous series “Flesh Love Returns,” Kawaguchi asked the couple to take pictures where they made sense. credit: Photographer Hull

Kawaguchi admitted that some people “feel claustrophobic” when they look at their photos. And as he tried it himself, he noticed that he was trapped in one of the airtight bags and he felt choked.

“When I was in the bag, I felt that my life and death were completely dominated by others,” he said. “I could actually feel the subjects entrusting their lives to me.”

When two become one

This series dates back to when Kawaguchi was a commercial photographer in his twenties. With little free time to create his work, he often took his camera to gigs and nightclubs, where he took pictures of young couples.

“The couple was full of joy, anger, sadness, and happiness, so it turned out to be very attractive as a subject,” he said. “When I was observing them, I also felt that there was a relationship between their physical and emotional distances.”

Mr. Kawaguchi said that he searched for volunteers from his friends (friends of friends) and started “love of meat” as a way to “visualize intimacy and love” between husband and wife. The photographer worked with the subject to find a position to eliminate the gap between the lubricated (possibly completely naked) bodies before using a vacuum cleaner to remove air from the bag.

Photographers don't want to put a couple together "Like a puzzle."

The photographer said that putting a couple together is “like a puzzle.” credit: Photographer Hull

“I ask the subject to rehearse the poses over and over again, then put the choices in a bag and recreate them,” he said, like “combining them like a puzzle.” did.

Kawaguchi said he was inspired by Plato’s “The Symposium.” The symposium stated that men and women were once a single entity with four arms, four legs and two faces, before the Greek god Zeus split in half.

“It was just a by-product of wrapping the subject in a bag,” the photographer said. “The main purpose of my art is to transform two people who love each other into one again.

“I still don’t know exactly what love is, but I don’t think it’s just distance,” he added. “Surprisingly, even when the body is in close proximity, the subject may not look very intimate, and vice versa.”

In “Fresh Love Returns,” Kawaguchi shot the couple at home and in other indoor environments, while his early photographs used a simple studio background. Meanwhile, in another series called “Zatsuran,” I saw a couple shrink-wrapping their possessions, from musical instruments to bicycles, like “dolls in blister packs.”

Since I wrapped the whole house, I would like to make it even bigger, such as vacuum packing the whole park. He also wants to explore a “new artistic style”, he added.

I’m also shooting a series called “Washing Machine”, “he said.” I put the subject in the washing machine. ”

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