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  • Alive Not Dead profile for the website www.eyestrane.com. Go check it out!

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  • Interview with Venus Lim

    Wednesday, Aug 8, 2012 7:50AM / Members only

    Hello,

    This is Venus Lim signing in. I was born and raised in one of the tropical countries, Malaysia. Currently reside in Singapore as a healthcare provider. A lover of felines, my mother and I keep 15 cats mainly rescued from car accidents, drowning and abuse. Despite popping up regularly at events, I am actually a rather introverted person and a bit shy when it comes to crowds. Being a believer of ‘Knowledge is Power’ and ‘Education Changes Life’, I spent most of my teenage years eating books. I had little social life back then hence the dull personality at times ><

    I’ve been a fan of cosplay since I was in high school. However, I only started cosplaying back in 2009, motivated by a kick in the back from a fellow cosplayer. It started off as a hobby and now, it has became a passion. I hand sewn my first costume and I intend to keep it that way ;) In 3 years time, I’ve done 27 projects excluding five original characters (Lynas, Vengeance Doll, Assassin, Dutchess and Red Lady) and a not-so-successful crossplay (Grell Sutcliff).

    I am currently running a book club online: https://www.facebook.com/groups/229437523753694/ and organizing a year end cosplay event for the third time: https://www.facebook.com/events/341332339269654/ Other than that, I am pretty much preoccupied with my work and costume making.

    Cosplay aside, I enjoy singing and ballet which I must admit I couldn’t do either. Hence, I spend most of my free time doodling and making handcraft stuff (bookmarks, keychain, tiny pouch, greeting cards, accessories et cetera…) I play the guitar a tad bit but after all these years of leaving my guitar in the store room to be manifested by dust, I wondered how well I will do now.

    Some of my cosplay achievement in chronology, given my memory doesn’t fail me:

    2010

    Enma Ai (Jigoku Shoujo) featured in MyTeruTeruBozu magazine (cover girl). Yuko Ichihara (XXXHolic) champion in Nips Crazy Challenge. Sumire Kanzaki (Sakura Wars) runner up in Anicom. Organized Christmas Cosplay Ball 2010.

    2011

    Ashura (RG Veda) featured in Faces magazine. Ashura (RG Veda) champion in Hari Belia Cosplay Event. Cosplay judge for GAMP 2011. Milia Rage (Guilty Gear X) runner up in HELP Games. Quistis Trepe (FF8) Champion for Anicom. Isis (Ouke no Monshou) Malaysia rep for AFA. Delphine (DOD) champion for Comic Fiesta 2011. Featured cosplayer in MAGSEVEN media interview. Organized Christmas Cosplay Ball 2011: Four Season.

    2012

    Princess Kakyuu featured as daily deviation in Deviantart.com. Cosplay Judge for Perak Youth Jam.

    Venus, it is a pleasure to meet you. You call yourself Venus Lim. Are you named after Sailor Venus by any chance? Were you a big fan of anime when you were young?

    You being the first few to have inferred it correctly. Sailormoon was my first anime (Doraemon and Shin Chan aside) back in 1998. I was very much absorbed with Minako Aino (Sailor Venus) and later part, adopted the name Venus. I was a fervent follower and adorer of Sailor Venus back then. She inspired me to start drawing manga.

    Why were you hesitant to start cosplaying and what did your friend say to you to convince you to try?

    I wasn’t hesitant but rather, unsure of how to go about it. I didn’t know where to get the costumes and wigs. Sewing never crossed my mind till later in 2009 when I realize the costumes being sold online are too expensive. Besides, I didn’t have anyone who shared the same interest back then. I wasn’t motivated to do it alone. In 2009, met a few friends in varsity who speak of cosplay. I was then introduced to Comic Fiesta Forum where meet cosplayers and get more info/resources. I will always regard the forum as my…Genesis :)

    What is cosplaying like in Malaysia?

    Cosplay has been growing fast for the past two to three years. The amount of new cosplayers bloomed is amazing. The number of events involving cosplay has increased vastly as well. Nevertheless, there are individuals or non-cosplay organizers who attempt to exploit this ‘current interest’. The public generally accepts the culture well although there are some extremists who still regard this hobby negatively. The current trend is Vocaloids. Though few, but the prop-makers here are admirable :) generally, we have cosplayers from every states but the central of the activity is mainly distributed to Penang, Kuala Lumpur and Johor Bahru.

    One of your more impressive cosplays is your Yuuko Ichihara which I understand won you a trip. Can you tell us a little about making the costume and the competition?

    The costume I used for preliminary round is the Witch Dimension version. That is my very first costume, completely hand sewn. It was one of my first few competition which I didn’t know what to expect. I composed a simple BGM, sound effect, voice over and went in the assistant of Mokona, a soft toy >< for the final, I chose the elaborate Victorian Riding version of hers. It is hand sewn as well, completed within a week. This round, I get the assistant from two of my closest cosplay friends, Yukito and Marianne. We met up several times for practice and they were really supportive, putting up with my crazy ideas and expectations. Glad to say it went well and the judges enjoyed our skit :)

    One of your more recent cosplays is Umi Ryuuzaki from Magic Knight Rayearth. What were some of the difficulties in making this costume?

    Umi Ryuuzaki’s Celestial Version is a semi armor sort of costume. It was my first attempt on such project as my previous costumes are mainly cloth based. It was difficult for me to draft out the entire costume as that version has little reference pictures. I was in dilemma choosing the materials too since I have no experience in this. Nevertheless, I managed it after several trials and errors. I would say the most tricky part is making the gems from resin. It was painfully tedious and messy for me!

    What are some of your favorite cosplays you have done?

    Hmm…favourite cosplay has to be Li Mei Ling from Card Captor Sakura and Noelle Borr from Trinity Blood. It was really fun to play those characters :) but my favourite costume has to be Siela’s (Chaos Legion) and Delphine (Dream of Dolls). I love the sets of Isis and Carol from Ouke no Monshou too. I love every piece of the accessories I made although few notice or appreciate small props as such.

    You hand make your own costumes. How did you learn your sewing skills?

    I would say trial and errors. I had my basic sewing lesson back in high school (making mittens/pillow case). Recalling those teachings and supplemented with sewing books, I managed some. It was only after several lessons with my cousin sister Sera (make-up artist, designer and tailor), I began to pick up the essential parts of patterning, sewing and usage of materials.

    Who are some of the cosplayers you admire most?

    I generally admire cosplayers who make their own costumes and props :) and those who managed to bring out the character they cosplay so well.

    What would you say to people who are just starting out cosplaying?

    Hello!

    Can you tell us about some of your future projects?

    Currently I’m working on Blue Rose from Tiger and Bunny. I planned to attempt Edea from Final Fantasy VIII and Freya from Chobits. Then again, it is quite impossible judging from my hectic working schedule ><

    I understand you have done a lot of judging at events. What criteria do you use when rating cosplayers?

    Costume (authenticity), props (durability), performance (creativity + entertainment value).

    Tell us about the event you are organizing, the Cosplay Ball.

    It started in 2010 as a small gathering among cosplay friends to celebrate Christmas. About 40 showed up and words spread the following year. More people asked about it and we decided to make it an open event. Marianne, Yukito and I organized another 2011. This year, we will be hosting one for 120 people in a hotel ballroom. It’s a buffet style dinner with door gifts, flea market, games and activities with prizes. It’s a non profit event without any form of sponsorship at the moment. You can follow us on our official blog: CosplayBall Blog or the Facebook page: CosplayBall 2012

    Where can we find out more about you?

    www.theunseenrealm.blogspot.com

    http://venuslim.deviantart.com/

    https://www.facebook.com/Venuscosplay

    A special thanks to those whom I’ve worked with closely throughout my cosplay jouney – cosplayers and photographers alike. Hugs!

      150 views Share    

  • Interview with Federico Chiesa

    Monday, Aug 6, 2012 9:16PM / Members only

    Federico Chiesa is an accomplished commercial photographer born in Cecina, a small town in Tuscany. After studying in Rome he began his work as a commercial photographer to critical acclaim. He is known for his “Horror Vacui” series which asks the question “What if the most scary horror film icons from the 80′s were alive today?”

    Federico, it is a pleasure to meet you. Can you tell us a little about yourself as a child and what it was like growing up in Cecina?

    Hi, I’m glad to be featured in your website. I grew up in a small town called Cecina, in Tuscany, in a country house. It was a nice childhood and I feel lucky to have been born in Tuscany.

    Of course I was attracted by what I saw in American movies and that’s why I’m relocating to NY.

    When you were young did you have an interest in photography?

    I can’t say that I did but I’ve always been attracted by images, I loved to draw but never had a chance to take photographs.  My father was an amateur scuba photographer and he was a fine painter but he is also a very serious man (he was an heart doctor) and would always push me to study something useful. He obviously failed!

    I was in love with music so I studied as a sound engineer and as a guitar player ( I am actually touring with a band called Mr Bison). I became interested in photography after high school graduation. It was like a revelation: “I could be a photographer!!!” .

    When did you first begin working as a commercial photographer? Do you remember some of your earliest jobs?

    After graduating  from photography school I worked as a photo  assistant for a while. That is the best type of education that you can do. Then I started to do retouching and I learned how to make my photos suitable for commercial use. My first job was a campaign for McDonalds .

    You are also an accomplished fashion photographer. Can you share with us any stories from your favorite shoots?

    Actually I don’t see myself as a good fashion photographer. Once in a while I have chance to do some nice stuff. The latest project is called “Darker than black” and is a reinterpretation of black metal covers.

    You can see here  http://www.behance.net/gallery/Darker-Than-Black-2012-Calendar/3349949

    How did you come up with the concept for your “Horror Vacui” series?

    I was asked to produce a series of photos for an exhibition about crisis so I ended shooting the worst kind of crisis I could imagine: identity crisis. I’ve always wanted to do some shoots with movie villains so this was an opportunity to do it!

    It was a very low budget project and when finished I only made about $1000 . I could do better now and I guess I will have another opportunity to do a  new villain shoot someday.

     Click on Image to See Full Size

    Were you surprised at the popularity the series received?

    Yes. everything started by a tweet from someone with a tons of followers and within a few days my photos were everywhere . I guess that working with well loved characters helps to spread your work.

    You worked with Carolina Trotta who is a makeup artist and fx makeup artist in Italy. Do you collaborate with her often?

    Actually Carolina is my girlfriend and we always work together.  For “horror vacui” she was very, very important. She did make up but also prepared costumes and props.

    What inspires you when you work?

    Movies, music, paintings. I try not to be inspired by others photographers because I hate to copy others but, you know, sometimes I need to give up and try to learn how other photographers do their stuff.

    Are there any photographers work you admire?

    Many. To name a few: Erwin Olaf, Gregory Crewdson, and Eugenio Recuenco

    Many of your photos look “painterly”. Do you effect them in some way and do you do your own retouching?

    I always do my own retouching.  I like to give that painterly look to my photos. I start with the right lightning during the shoot and then I refine everything in photoshop.

    What plans do you have for the future?

    Hard to know. Right now I want to relocate in NY. 

    Where can we find out more about you and your work?

    You can check my website www.federicochiesa.com

    Or my Facebook page   www.facebook.com/federicochiesaphotographer

    you can also check Carolina’s work here www.carolinatrotta.com

      40 views Share    

  • The Pursuit of the Raven – An Interview by Rosey Scarlette

    Wednesday, Aug 1, 2012 9:00PM / Members only

    “Be inspired by others, choose your mentors. Your mind can give you anyone in the world. Read and breathe wisdom, take notes and apply something you’ve learned into your daily life.”

    “Position yourself to where the business is”.

     “Allow everyone to dream abundantly, and to inspire
    a mental default of a King”.

    After spending a whole day with Lucas Raven I finally understood the value of these words. In every sense, whatever you think, think big.

    The pursuit of The Raven

    Once upon a time I met boy, He was 15 years old and he had the brightest most contagious smile you can ever see. I asked that boy what he wanted to become in the near future and he said “ I wanna build dreams, fly up in the sky and be around amazing people.”

    Fast forward 8 years later I bumped into Lucas Raven at the airport. There I was still looking for that little boy in him. I asked him if he remembers me and he said “How can I forget?” I asked him if I can shadow him for one day and perhaps I can have a glimpse of what his life is now in the business world. I asked him if he misses being on camera and he said “Sometimes I do but I just imagine that wherever I go people have cameras and I try my best to still find time for the scene.

    We took AMAN’s private jet to 3 different cities that day for his goodwill ambassador work funded by AMAN AIR. We first visited this public hospital in Ozamiz City and handed out envelopes with cash in them and free medicine vouchers. Lucas went from ward to ward, patient to patient handing out a bit of help. Children to mothers, and fathers to grandparents. It was a wake up call he said, seeing people who didn’t have much and was in pain and to be able to ease a little bit of that makes you appreciate the world even more. We can’t live that large unless we know how to share what we have. It’s all about giving back, paying it forward and knowing that we are all connected in every way.

    That night I saw him turn his back from a huge party, walked slowly into his hotel room to rest.

    If you were to describe your life in one sentence what would it be?

    “Oh wow, I would say – The fascinating transformation of ideas in the world of Lucas.”

     When are you settling down?

    “That’s a rather sad question but I always believe that everyone has their time to be seen and noticed in this huge window of opportunity and fame, and whatever we do with it is entirely up to us. I’d like believe that my window just opened and so I want to maximize every second of it before I even think about “settling down.”

    How do you do what you do?

    We are all born with supreme imagination. I just choose to use it EVERYDAY. If I want to do something, I just do it.

    Photo by Allyssa Heuze

    In addition, Crimson, A brand of genuine clothing recently came up with a collection inspired by the Lifestyle of Aviators, and who else better is better to be the face of this brand but The Golden boy of Aviation – Lucas Raven himself.

    “After proving my worth in the flying Industry, its time to show them some style.”

    Photos: Savannah Russell unless otherwise noted.

      302 views Share    

  • Interview with Alice Johnson

    Tuesday, Jul 31, 2012 8:41PM / Members only

    Alice Johnson is a russian artist living in the Ukraine. She speaks several languages including Russian, Ukranian, English, and Swedish. She is presently attending college and enrolled in Architecture classes.

    She did attend art school but dropped out and is basically self taught.

    With pink hair and a liking for heavy metal, she was once known on the web as mirukawa a name she invented herself. One time a total stranger walked up to her saying, “It’s you, mirukawa, I saw your art on the web!” which suprised her.

    Although fans love her work she is very hard on herself and can very crtitical of her work. Her fans, however, are very supportive and have drawn fan art of her and used her drawings as the basis of tattoos.

    Alice, it is a pleasure to meet you. I am a big fan of yours and of your art too! Can you tell us a little about your childhood and where you grew up?

    Thank you very much, it’s an honor for me too ^ ^
    I grew up in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, and I still and living there, for now, with my mother. I had weak health and was in a hospitals a lot and that’s where my graphic style appeared. Almost all of my old works are black and white.

    Were you interested in art as a child? Are there other artists in your family?

    Yes, I’ve been drawing for as long as I can remember myself :3
    Mom told me that when I went to kindergarten, classmates would gather around me and I would tell them stories while I illustrated them like comics at the same time. I’m the only one who draws in my family.

    Your contains elements of anime and movies. What kinds of things inspire your work?

    I’m inspired by music, beautiful things, modern Japanese fashion, game graphics and art by my favorite artists and photographers. Anime and movies also have a great impact :3

    Tell us about your interest in runes and seals that are incorporated in some of your works. For those who may not know what are the three Futharks?

    I learned then because I was interested in Scandinavian mythology. Runes were the priestly language and alphabet of the ancient Scandinavians. Groups of runes united in the Futharks: the younger Futhark, senior Futhark and Slavic.
    used for religious and commemorative records as well as avatars.

    One of your most well known images is b&w of a girl with antlers on her head, on eye open, one eye shut. Can you tell us about this and the meaning behind it?

    This drawing doesn’t make any sense, except for the runes on the bottom which mean achievement, the goal and ensuring the victory. I don’t know why I decided to write exactly this combination = =

    I understand it was turned into a tattoo. How does it make you feel to see your artwork on someone’s body?

    I’m just delighted, it’s a great honor for me! Generally I love tattoos, maybe I’ll be a tattooist when grow up.  Who knows :3

    It is hard for me to choose one favorite in your portfolio, Your black and white work is superb. Exquisitely detailed. The cover you did for an album cover for brazilian rock band Adeus Lenin is exceptional. How did they get hold of you and what did they ask you for?

    Thank you so much!! Derek, the guitarist of the group, just wrote me a letter on deviantart.
    I didn’t ask for anything in return but he gave me a premium membership on deviantart. Thanks to him for it ^ ^

    I love “Paranoia Mode On”, another of your black and white drawings. How did you come up with the concept behind it?

    I just took all I had in my head at that moment and put it into one picture. Also I was inspired by Hayao Miyazaki’s ’Spirited Away’ anime, which I can advise you to see. I painted it for the October Fest contest and it won a first place prize! ^______^

    Your painting, “Time Waits for no one” comes from a story called, “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time”. What is it that you loved about the story and how does it relate to the image you painted?

    I love this anime, just yesterday I watched it with my bf  ^ ^ I love everything about this story. I was very inspired by the backgrounds, especially clouds, so just wanted to draw a fanart :3 though the characters in my picture turned out somewhere between this anime and manga.

    Talk to us about “Waiting” and “525439″.

    ohh this I will have a lot to talk about >_______<
    Each picture has its own complicated story. These works reflects my mind at the moment of their painting, all of my thoughts, I’m tried to transfer my feelings as signs on drawings, something like that :3 and yet, something very strange happens: when I have a good mood, characters in the drawings come out sad, but when I’m crying or angry (drawing helps me to calm down) faces in the drawings come out smiling .

    You have also posted a number of tutorials describing the way you work. Can you walk us through your process here?

    okay ^ ^
    All is very simple, I’m painting in the SAI, usually on one layer by one tool, you can see brush settings in the ’lips tutorial’
    and at the end of work processing it in Photoshop, adding brightness and contrast, sometimes use the saturation tool.
    Hope it will help someone ;ω;

    You have said you do not like your artwork. What don’t you like about it?

    ugh I don’t like everything.
    I hope someday that I’ll be drawing such that even I will like it :3

    You are studying architecture. What do you hope to do after graduation?

    I don’t know, I’m attracted on many things! >w<
    I’m studying as an architect-designer, so can go to work and so and so, also dreaming to become a tattoo artist as written above, I want to decorate books or video games, wait and see ^_______^

    What other artists do you admire?

    ohh it must be very, very long list >_____<
    easier to see here http://mirukawa.deviantart.com/myfriends/?offset=0
    and here http://www.pixiv.net/bookmark.php?type=user&id=2799447

    All of these artists and photographers are just wonderful and inspiring, I must to thank them very much! ^ ^
    Besides the modern authors I really like paintings of 18-19 century, I can look at their work for hours and hours.

    Where can we find out more about you?

    deviantart:  http://mirukawa.deviantart.com/
    tumblr:  http://mirumiruu.tumblr.com/
    art tumblr:  http://mirukawa.tumblr.com/
    vk puplic:  http://vk.com/mirukawa
    vk page:  http://vk.com/mirumiru
    pixiv:  http://www.pixiv.net/member.php?id=2799447

      506 views Share    

  • Interview with Photographer HAL

    Monday, Jul 30, 2012 8:55PM / Members only

    Name: Photographer HAL
    Occupation: Photographer
    Location: Japan 

    Bathtubs, couples, love and challenge are strong themes throughout this artist’s work with other key elements including individuality, style, communication and intimacy.

    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. “I am currently seeking new dimensions in portrait photography by challenging the majestic theme of mankind, defined through love.” Photographer Hal’s latest project is called Fresh Love, which captures the many varied and fresh couples in vacuum sealed package.

    Background

    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.

    Theme

    “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!”

    “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.”

    Subjects

    Through the medium of photography, the couple has become Photographer Hal’s chosen vehicle to express the principle theme of world love, this will of course require a search to find subjects who are willing to participate. “I go to Kabukicho in Shinjuku, underground bars in Shibuya and many other places which are full of activity like luscious night time bee-hives.

    When I see a couple of interest I will begin to negotiate. I’m sure that many people initially think of my proposal as unusual or even look through me like I am completely invisible, but I always push forward with my challenge to them. The models appear from all walks of life and individually have included musicians, dancers, strippers, laborers, restaurant and bar managers, photographers, businessmen and women, unsettled and unemployed, et al. As a couple, I have photographed a wide variety of variables which include being young and old, from the same or opposite sex, of different race, having different styles, girls from the north and men from the south and many others who have been willing to participate. There have been occasions when the situation has become complicated, for example if a couple have disagreements, begin to argue or even fight! There are also the inevitable no-shows and the couples who split up before I can complete the images. On one assignment I had to visit a prison later to obtain permission for the final print. Happily though, for the most part I’ve had many joyful moments with many interesting scenes to capture. There was even a couple who married soon after one event, and it all began in a bathtub!”

    Photographic Style

    “In my early explorations I used to capture the models in a small room or enclosed space, these images can be seen in the photo books called Pinky & Killer, and Pinky & Killer DX.

    During the photo session I often prompt the couple to pose as if they’re in a sticker photo booth, an extension of the regular passport type which cause friends to pose in many alternative and fun ways. The focal point of the concept was then extended for the publication Couple Jam to include the use of the models bathtub, usually in their own home. I think of the bathroom as being one of the most private and intimate place in anyone’s home, this provoked a shyness in the models, and created a unique excitement and inspiration in the scene. In my most recent project I have applied the use of the vacuum sealed package, used to store futon covers in everyday life, I found that the couple can be sealed in, with the appearance of being freshly wrapped I have called this event Fresh Love.”

    It is a pleasure to meet you. Your photos are speaking out against segregation and discrimination and promoting peace and understanding for everyone. Why is this message important to you?

    Flesh Love expresses how two persons’ bodies connect together to form one body, so I thought of it as an important theme against segregation and discrimination and to help promote peace.

    You spent a little time working in the advertising industry. How was your experience there?

    I learned photographic technique from advertising work and by collaborating with many kinds of professional people who inspired me.

    The places you go to find your subjects, in Shinjuku and the underground bars in Shibuya, have many more people who may be more open minded to your art. Do you find this is true?

    Exactly.

    In Pinky & Killer and Pinky and Killer DX you used small spaces to force your subjects together. How did you approach them? What did you say to them?

    The photographic subject was asked if they could have their photos taken and then pushed in narrow place. The photographic subject was pressed whatever space was around so we might be take the photo.

    Were all the subjects couples already or were some strangers? 

    At first everyone were strangers. Some couples stood up and had their photos taken and then later did not want me to use their photos.

    Taking it to the next level of intimacy you photographed couples in their bathtubs. Some are dressed for the photos in different ways. How does this differ than your previous work?

    It differs in the form and softness of the body, respectively. It is a collaborative work which transforms them becoming one like a puzzle.

    In “Flesh Love” can you tell us the process you go through when sealing your subjects inside? How do they breathe and how long do they have to hold their poses?

    They can’t breath at all inside for 10 seconds so I have to photograph them very quickly, usually the shutter time is 2 or 3.  As long as they are vacuum-packed they can not move. They are frozen completely.

    Flesh Love

    When you embrace your lover, sometimes you wish to melt right into them. To realize this wish, I’ve been photographing couples in small, or even cramped spaces like motels and bathtubs. As my work has become more and more intense, I’ve noticed that communication is indispensable. This time, I reached the point of photographing couples in vacuum-sealed packs, in a set that I’ve constructed in my own kitchen. The lights are in the ceiling, so I just flip one switch and have everything ready. I have a few different colored paper backgrounds, which I can leave rolled up in the corner. After the couple get 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. I’ve been in there myself, and the fear I felt was overwhelming. As the shooting continues over multiple takes, the pressure of the vacuum seal grows stronger. At the same time, the two bodies start to communicate, and whether through unevenness of limbs or the curve of joints they begin to draw a shape of what they want to express. The two lovers draw closer until they finally transform into a single being. Looking at these vacuum-sealed packs of love, we can imagine a more peaceful world. For me, the vacuum pack is only a means: the important thing is connecting to someone.

    In your bio you say that you first became interested in photography as a way of overcoming shyness and language. When you approach people to be in your photos, though, you are not shy. Have you overcome your shyness or does the goal of getting subjects for your photos become more important?

    No, probably I have not overcome. It seems that I will change if I have a camera although I am usually quiet.

    You have two solo upcoming exhibitions for your work in October, 2012. One at the Gallery Tanto Tempo in Kobe, Japan and another at the Blue Sky Gallery in Port land USA. Is this your first solo exhibit in the US of your work?

    Yes, as a solo show. I am very excited!

    In 2011, you won first place at the “Art of Photography Show” in San Diego, CA. What work was the prize for and what response did you get of your work?

    After San Diego, I would often get contacted by journalists, galleries, and collectors from all over the world who had seen the “Art of Photography Show”.

    What inspires you to create? How do you think of the concepts for your photos?

    I am inspired by everything in my life.

    Are there any other photographers or artists whose work you admire?

    Stanley Kubrick, Irving Penn, Daido Moriyama, Walt Disney, Gaspar Noé, Ravi Shankar, Andy Warhol, etc.

    How is the art scene in Tokyo?

    There was a serious disaster in Japan last year. (ed. Earthquake) It was a very shocking occurrence for the Japanese who were used to peace. I think that this thing has also influenced Japanese artist’s expression. Those who get married increased in number after the earthquake disaster.

    The existence of man is uneasy and mankind feels they are a very small thing in the world after a natural disaster. Therefore, those who love each other like and understand my work — it proposes making strong connections with each other.

    Where can we go to find out more about you and your work?

    Solo show “Flesh Love”will be held at Gallery Tanto Tempo in Kobe Japan on October.

    Gallery Tanto Tempo: http://tantotempo.jp/newsite/en/index.html

    Solo show “Flesh Love”will be held at Blue Sky Gallery in Port land USA on October.

    Blue Sky Gallery: http://www.blueskygallery.org/
    ipad application Flesh Love

    itunes; http://itunes.apple.com/jp/app/flesh-love/id472646206?mt=8
    Photo Book Flesh Love

    http://www.tosei-sha.jp/
    My web site: http://www.photographerhal.com/

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