Kohei Yoshiyuki

Kohei Yoshiyuki, The Park, 1971-1979

Kohei Yoshiyuki, The Park, 1971-1979

Throughout the 1970s, photographer Kohei Yoshiyuki documented the busy night-time life of parks in Tokyo. His resulting series of photographs show the hidden side of the city: couples and groups engaging in sexual activity – or watching others engage in it – outside of the rigid restrains of their everyday lives.

The artist writes: “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” 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.”

Kohei Yoshiyuki (b. 1946, Hiroshima) lives and works in Japan. Recent exhibitions include Camera Work (Adam Art Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand, 2012) and Night Vision: Photography After Dark (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, U.S.A., 2011).

Kohei Yoshiyuki at Liverpool Biennial 2012

The Park, 1971-1979 

Love Hotel, 1978
Gelatin silver prints, 36 x 28cm
Exhibited at Open Eye Gallery