Leave it to Haruhiko Kawaguchi to, once again, seal people’s attention on his work. The award-winning photographer, popularly known as Photographer Hal, rose to fame in 2009. In that year, he introduction the art craze, Flesh Love. In a series of photographs, he captured naked couples in close embraces. The works are unique because the couples are sealed in a large sheet of shrink-wrap. The artistic vision drew rave reviews and provided Hal with a loyal following.
While the first wave of photographs took place in his studio, Kawaguchi’s new focus is on shrink-wrapping couples in their natural environments. His subjects range from businessmen to strippers. He also allows them to use a variety of props before he seals them in plastic. While some couples choose to use cosplay outfits and stuffed animals, others have included their infants. The danger is that the infant doesn’t know to hold its breath.
Haruhiko swears that no one is ever in danger when posing for him, even when he places people inside of vacuum-sealed shrink-wrap. There are always paramedics standing by in case of a medical emergency. In all, the models are without oxygen for fewer than 10 seconds. Photographer Hal can snap only two images during that time. As a result, he stresses that staging is the most important part of the process.
In addition to taking the photographs, Hal is the person responsible for sucking the air out of the shrink-wrap. Using a small air pump, he’s able to complete the process in seconds. However, he makes clear that the use of shrink-wrap is not a toy. People should not try this technique on their own. There should always be medical specialists nearby. Unfortunately, that hasn’t stopped thousands of teenagers from recreating this artistic style on their own. For instance, a couple in northern China ended up trapped in plastic. Fortunately, family members resuscitated them.