Haruhiko Kawaguchi, from Tokyo, covers the lovebirds in lube then vacuum packs them together in a huge plastic bag – sucking out all the oxygen. He even keeps a paramedic on hand as the suffocated couples hold their breath and he has just four seconds to take the shots. Since 2009, Haruhiko “Photographer Hal” Kawaguchi has made a career out of asking couples he doesn’t know to come home and get in the bag.
“When you embrace your lover,” he tells me, “sometimes you wish to melt right into them. To realize this wish, I’ve been photographing couples in small, cramped spaces. Soon I reached the point of photographing couples in vacuum-sealed packs. As my work has become more and more intense, I’ve noticed that communication is indispensable.”
On a kitchen floor Haruhiko Kawaguchi spends 10-20 seconds photographing couples that he meets in nightclubs. He arranges them like pieces of meat inside bags meant to store futons and blankets. He then seals their conjoined bodies inside the bag using a household vacuum that sucks out all of the air. For this project, Flesh Love, he’s photographed over 80 couples.
Kawaguchi says the men panic more often than the women. A few have struggled for air while in the bag and one man ended up pissing himself. The women just want to look good, he says. Watch video: