Flesh Love Returns by Hal

Photographer Hal brings complete strangers to his confined, crucible like spaces only to convey his continuing theme of ‘love of the couple’. The initial title Pinky &  Killer used a small space or room to capture the willing couples, soon followed by the title Couple Jam which brought the focus even closer to the subjects who were placed in a bathtub together.

Between those who love each other are instinctively attracted, and they hope to become the one. To represent this power of love, I have photographed couples vacuum-sealed. This time I started a project called “Flesh Love Returns”, shot the coupleʼs most important place. Shooting location is decided by the couples, then I decide the best angle there.  Some couples choose their own room, some choose the workplace where they first met, and some choose a restaurant where they had a date for the first time. Two people were packed perfectly in their best place. It is unalloyed packed couple without even air between them. I think this is the ultimate substantial portrait. To participate in this shooting,  the couple is required to determine to have the love as well as death, and I am also required to have determination which would make my life shorten. I made framing much carefully so that it became a lifetime best of commemorative photo for the couple. In order to be able to shoot for me at any time anywhere, I have carried relatively simple light equipment,  but still around 30kg. I carried it not only Japan but also overseas, I took photographs any place whenever there was a shooting possible opportunity. Countries I shot were Netherlands, Belgium, Hong Kong and Japan. One time, I borrowed power source from the caretaker of neighbourhood in order to get the power for lighting when I was shooting in front of the canals of Amsterdam. So after that, I have changed all equipment to set by a battery. By hearing about me overseas, some couples from the United States, Australia,  Germany, visited me in Tokyo to be my model. I asked them to think about the location where the couple would have the most impressive memories in their Tokyo stay, and photographed them at the last timing in Tokyo. When I shot outdoors, sometime it was rain,  sometimes equipment was blown off by the wind. Sometimes I had to finish the shooting in a few minutes because the place was too busy. In other time, when the couple would like to be model in the park at night, I had a hard time to find the right angle with the light by a public street lights. I spent about two and a half years to complete this project in the end. But the publication was settled on the way of project, so more than half of production was shot in the last half year eventually to meet deadline. In thosedays, I focused only on this project whether awake or asleep, and I appreciate that I have done this much of work is because of my models, all couples. Someday, I hope to find my love, and together be in vacuum-sealed bag to be “Flesh Love Returns” too.

All photos by Hal