An Exclusive Interview With Haruhiko Kawaguchi
Lens Magazine|November 2019
"I want to capture love as it really is and the bathtub is an ideal vehicle to encapsulate the vivid reality in my images. A grand theme in mankind is Love, and I, Photographer Hal, am challenging the majestic theme!"
Catalin Croitoru

"Those in power are continually guilty of segregation and discrimination, can we realize peace under such conditions? You who are standing on the earth, no matter where you are, love the person in front of you. From two people to a group, a town to a community, a city to a country, from border to border, the ring of love shall prevail. I have started to create my ring of love in the city of Tokyo, believing that some day a world peace without segregation and discrimination will come true."

Born, educated and currently residing in Tokyo. "Living through my university days I was starving for encounters with different people from other cultures around the world. As soon as I had the opportunity I left Japan and began my travels with a special focus on the Middle East and India. It was here that I first became aware of my passion for photography. The camera became the key to overcoming shyness and limited local language abilities and I could in some way communicate with the people I met. After graduating from university I joined an advertising production company in Tokyo and this enabled me to acquire a much wider set of photographic skills. The assignments were varied and unique including celebrities and established fashion icons. It was the crucible of my technical ability and the focus in my work soon became the people".

At some point in his career as a photographer, Kawaguchi began wrapping people up in plastic sheets. He would then vacuum them for no more than 10 seconds - for safety measures, of course - until their photo could be taken. Later on, he’d pot to wrap even larger objects, such as scooters, cars and even houses. Most of the time such places were chosen as the open spaces where the lovers, or the families, used to go more often. Familiar spaces and places. Parts of their day-today regular life. So for such an "irregular" point of view as a creator, the artist firstly went to scout the best locations. After that, with the volunteering couples or/and families he installed the plastic all around. Everywhere! And with the help of the wind, that sheets were sticking even better to the persons and objects. That used to be the moment when the shutter of the camera was pressed. The result? A series of never seen before pictures with people hugging each other or just standing but covered in plastic, like the vacuum-sealed items on the grocery shelves...

LENS MAGAZINE: Thank you for accepting to take this "ride" with the LENS MAGAZINE through your life and your photographic career.

Haruhiko Kawaguchi, also known as "Photographer Hal", you have an ongoing project -simply called "?". The images that are part of this photo-journey are black & white; what is the meaning of this project and why has it such a simple name?

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