⟨ Art ⟩

PRIMAL by Osamu Yokonami

The wild instinct of children

Text / Ron Lam
Translation / Iris Heung

攝影師橫浪修在2014年發表了攝影集《1000 Children》,一千個三至五歲的小孩子,穿著幼稚園的校服,各自在肩上夾著橘子、茄子、水蜜桃等蔬果。在這個剛生起自我意識的年紀裡,孩子們大概了解到自己正在進行一項大人交予的不尋常任務,他們的神情看來小心翼翼、戰戰兢兢,有的因為面對著鏡頭而努力擠出微笑,有的則似乎對任務格外重視,因而一臉認真。透過一個非日常的要求,橫浪修誘出了孩子各種有趣的表情來。

今年,他發表了新作《PRIMAL》,主題跟《1000 Children》相同,但這次請來的孩子年紀更小,只有兩到三歲。横浪修向一改其「規規矩矩」的表現手法,走出了攝影棚,來到了晴空之下,小孩子都赤祼著身體,而橫浪修取了較自由的取鏡方式,以求具體地捕足小孩子曖昧的神情。

「我從沒想過低一個年齡層的小孩,會讓我遇到那麼多不同意想不到的表情。(中略)赤祼的身體、晴空的背景,這兩個要求強調了野性的氣氛。我相信小孩子無意中展現了嚴肅的眼神,正正連結了人類的動物本能。」在書籍出版的同時,橫浪修亦正於東京的BOOK AND SONS書店中舉行攝影展,在展覽的介紹文他這樣說,正好說明了這系列作品的趣味所在。

The photographer Osamu Yokonami launched his photobook 1000 Children in 2014. The book features a thousand children aged 3 to 5 years old in their kindergarten uniform; on one side of their shoulders finds a fruit or vegetable like orange, eggplant or peach, only held in position by their tilted heads. 3 to 5 years old is the age when children begin to recognize themselves as independent individuals. These little ones treated this comical mission with extra seriousness, they all tried to carefully hold the fruit or vegetable so as not to let it fall. Some of them forced a smile regardless of being nervous, some others treated the assignment with utmost sincerity and showed no facial expression at all. By giving the children an unconventional assignment, Yokonami managed to capture many amusing facial expressions.

Yokonami’s new work PRIMAL in fact shares a similar theme with 1000 Children. The main difference is that this time he invited even younger children, who are only 2 to 3 years old, for portraits. Unlike his usual proper setup, Yokonami brought the children to open air to take photos of them without clothes on. The photos vividly captured and earnestly depict the intriguing facial expressions of the children that can be interpreted in many different ways.

“I didn’t expect children who are merely a couple years younger could show such a different facial expression. […] Their shirtless body against the backdrop of the bright sky together fulfill a wild atmosphere. The serious look on their faces is precisely the manifestation of the animal instinct of human beings.” To celebrate the launch of his new book, Yokonami is having a photography exhibition in BOOK AND SONS bookstore in Tokyo. Reading his foreword for the exhibition is perhaps the best way to get into the fascinating world of his photography series.