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The Park -Kohei Yoshiyuki

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

During the 1970s Kohei Yoshiyuki was a young commercial photographer in Tokyo. One night when he walked through Chuo Park in Shinjuku he noticed a couple on the ground, and then spectators lurking in the bushes who watched the scene. “I had my camera, but it was dark,” he told Nobuyoshi Araki in a 1979 interview. Researching the technology in the era before infrared flash units, he found that Kodak made infrared flashbulbs.

Mr. Yoshiyuki returned to the park, and also to Yoyogi, and Aoyama parks. Through the ’70s he photographed heterosexual and homosexual couples engaged in sexual activity and the peeping toms who stalked them. .

“Before taking those pictures, I visited the parks for about six months without shooting them, I just went there to become a friend of the voyeurs. To photograph the voyeurs, I needed to be considered one of them. I behaved like I had the same interest as the voyeurs, but I was equipped with a small camera. My intention was to capture what happened in the parks, so I was not a real ‘voyeur’ like them. But I think, in a way, the act of taking photographs itself is voyeuristic somehow. So I may be a voyeur, because I am a photographer. The couples were not aware of the voyeurs in most cases,” he wrote. “The voyeurs try to look at the couple from a distance in the beginning, then slowly approach toward the couple behind the bushes, and from the blind spots of the couple they try to come as close as possible, and finally peep from a very close distance. But sometimes there are the voyeurs who try to touch the woman, and gradually escalating — then trouble would happen.”

The photographs have been exhibited first in 1979, at Komai Gallery in Tokyo. For that show the pictures were blown up to life size, the gallery lights were turned off, and each visitor was given a flashlight. Mr. Yoshiyuki wanted to reconstruct the darkness of the park. The oversize prints were destroyed after the show, and the series was originally published in 1980 as a book. Last year Mr. Yoshiyuki made new editions of the prints in several sizes, which have brought renewed interest in his work.

Kohei Yoshiyuki was born in 1946 in Japan, where he currently lives and works.

A new edition of Kohei Yoshiyuki's book -The Park has been published in 2007
by Hatje Cantz and Yossi Milo Gallery
Hardcover, 128 pages, English, 2007
Text by Vince Aletti and Yossi Milo
Interview with Artist by Nobuyoshi Araki.
ISBN 978-3-7757-2085-4

more info > via 5B4 blog