Haruhiko aka Photographer Hal was kind enough to accept our request so without further ado below you can find the whole interview and Haruhiko’s replies.
Q: How long are you working for this project?
A: Two years over.
Q: The main idea of your project seems very romantic, you say:
“This is is an attempt to capture this moment of love and passion between couples forever and keep it sterilized from any future acts that will separate the couple.”
Do you believe you capture “love” when you shoot?
A: Yes, Flesh Love series is the moment of having loved each other most strongly. The inside of a bag is only two person’s world pure 100% even without any air except a couple.
Q: How did you come up with this project? – Why did you choose plastic bags for your project?
A: I think that the fun of couple photography is in a couple’s degree of loyalty.
If a picture of a couple is taken outside, they will be shy, but if they love each other passionately, they will be embraced strongly. The degree of loyalty expresses the depth of their love. It was interesting when putting in the couple since the interesting golden bathtub was in the Love Hotel before. Since a bathtub is also at what home, it is a place with sufficient an appreciation person feeling a reality for a photography act. After I’ve published photobook Couple Jam, I searched for a material which can stick a couple in an everyday life article. Then the vacuum bag for bedding was found.
Q: An artist is someone that tries to change the world, do you think your work is part of this idea?
A: I think that love is a base of all the things in the world. So I think that making art on the theme of love may change the world. This is not an easy thing. Therefore, it is worth challenging.
Q: People’s relationships are hard nowadays so is your work trying to make people believe something is going to change on this?
A: After 3.11 big disaster(editors note: Hal is talking about the Tsunami disaster), people numbers getting married have increased in Japan. I think that they are afraid of being alone because it turned out that the existence of man is very small at natural disasters.
I would like to propose them to be connected more strongly and going by those who feel love about each other as Flesh Love.
Q: You may already know that many people find this project of yours dangerous enough, do you?
A: Yes I do, For secure shooting, I prepare a person who opens the bag in an emergency, the spray of oxygen, and the thing for cooling models head. I never experienced anything dangerous in my shootings.
It’s like riding on the rollercoaster of an amusement park, every couple gets scared of shooting at first but finally, every couple enjoyed the shooting.
Q: While someone is watching your youtube video asks himself: how did he prepare for the shooting?
Did you give special instructions to the couples? Did you make any rehearsals using dolls or dummies?
A: Always a discussion is performed between me and models before the shooting. A rehearsal is carried out without going into a bag at first.
Then, a rough pause is decided and it goes into a bag. 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.
Q: For me, it looks like a crime well prepared!!! But as you say after all “it’s all in the name of love…”
How do you think this project will change in the future? Do you have any plans for the moment?
A: I am going to challenge making new series and I will go while maintaining the thought that “For me, the vacuum pack is only a means: the important thing is connecting to someone. I will continue the photography method in alignment with this purpose and will go.
Hidden Room would like to thank Haruhiko Kawaguchi for taking the time to answer our questions.
We are more than sure than soon we are going to read more about this innovative artist from Japan.