Movie documentary of Japanese girl group The Suzan. HD55min. Directed and Produced.
From 2011 to 2012
If you see a good portrait photograph, you enjoy personality expressed of the subject, beautiful lighting and etc. Also one must think about what kind of relation this person and the photographer have. Portrait photograph is collaboration of a photographer and a subject. It is relationship between photographer and subject. (I have been wondering why photographers taken all the credit on the portrait photos, because 90% of visual impact come from subjects in a photo.)
That in mind, when I decided to take portrait of women artists at New York in 2008, I thought about relationship between myself and subject. And I thought that our relation should be enjoyable partnership to make portrait photos as our work. Since I like to photograph number of New York women, I think it is better to have same theme. I like to go to see movies since I was 11 years old, so I go to Movie Theater often. Have you experienced that you saw an eye-grabbing poster or still photographs of movie that you had not yet seen, and excited to see the movie and often you kind of disappointed after you saw? You knew the movie still photos had a story, so you imagined your stories, but the movie havedifferent story, of course. I thought this imagination was fun to play with as this series theme. The portrait photos that can imagine stories. The story and photograph are made by our collective effort. We write stories (simple synopsis only) like old movies but never existed and then we visualize into photos. Just like children play around, fun and playful, no stylist, no hair or makeup artist, just a photographer and friends create movie heroin who never existed.
It had been 30 years since I hitchhiked from LA to DC, and I decided to drive from the East Coast to the West Coast as a collaborative project with my friend, writer Lisa Koyuki Smith. The book will consist of the photographs I took on the trip and text by her.
After twenty years of living in the United States, I returned to Tokyo and found that countless things had changed. I saw many Westerners and was glad to see Tokyo as a cosmopolitan city. Yes, there are many blond-haired “Westerners” in Tokyo. But to my amazement, most of them are actually young Japanese who have dyed their hair bleach blond. Among them are a group of girls who call themselves “Gals.” Most are 16 to 18 years old.
In a characteristic accent and vocabulary, they chat loudly with one another, or on cell phones in public places such as commuter trains. Sometimes they crouch in the middle of a busy sidewalk in small groups, chatting and smoking endlessly. They squat down on the sidewalk just like peasants used to in the past. Most people consider them very rude since modesty is expected for Japanese girls. While many people find little good in them, I can see a certain kind of aesthetic sense in these Gals……….
One might think that Gals are directly influenced by the West, because of their hair color and miniskirts. However, the influence from the West is only through such media as TV news, movies, music, and magazines, not from actual experience. Some of these influences have been “Japanized” over the past generation. Young people do not even consider these influences as coming from the West. Gals simply took whatever they thought of as “kawaii,” mixed all these elements together, and reinvented them in an exaggerated “ukiyoe-esque” way. The word “kawaii” can mean “cute,” “precious,” “pretty,” “lovable,” or “right on target,” depending on the context. What the Gals have created has an affinity with Japanese Pop Culture, such as anime, computer games, and manga……….
Takes photographs of 500 Ganguro Gals in Shibuya. Collaboration with Masami Takahashi
May 1981 to November 1994