Haruhiko Kawaguchi, also known as “Photographer Hal,” released the book “Flesh Love” five years ago this December. The book took couples the artist met at Tokyo clubs and had them pose inside a vacuum-sealed bag. In this process, Kawaguchi only had 10 to 20 seconds to take the photos, in order to avoid danger for his subjects.
“I am currently seeking new dimensions in portrait photography by challenging the majestic theme of mankind, defined through love,” the artist said, in an interview. This manifests itself in the embraces of these couples, who had varying reactions to the process. In a broad sense, Kawaguchi said that females took to the process better than men, as many of the latter quickly felt claustrophobic and sought air immediately. Out of that context, some of the moments captured can be seen in a different life, like an anguished expression that once appeared passionate.
In a new book, “Flesh Love Returns,” Kawaguchi returns to this concept, taking it to new venues. Domestic backdrops, the workplace, and other settings are used to house both standing and sitting couples, once again vacuumed sealed in an intimate, albeit forced, embrace.