X

In love and shrink-wrapped (photos)

Japanese photographer cocoons couples in plastic wrap normally used to store futon covers and then shoots their picture. It's hard not to stare at the captivating results.

Leslie_Katz.jpg
Leslie_Katz.jpg

Leslie Katz

See full bio
croppedminaemura.jpg
1 of 10 Photographer Hal

Vacuum-sealed: Mina and Emura

A Japanese artist who goes by the name of Photographer Hal seals couples in plastic normally used to store futon covers, then sucks the air out with a vacuum cleaner and snaps their portraits. "I am currently seeking new dimensions in portrait photography by challenging the majestic theme of mankind, defined through love," he writes on his Web site.
croppedichianderi.jpg
2 of 10 Photographer Hal

Vacuum-sealed: Ichi and Eri

Images from Photographer Hal's series, called "Flesh Love," are on display at the Wall Space Gallery in Santa Barbara, Calif., through January 29. The series is available as a book, and can soon be seen in an iPad app.
flesh2.jpg
3 of 10 Photographer Hal

Anie and Uesugi

Photographer Hal, who previously worked in advertising, maintains that persistence is key when recruiting "Flesh Love" subjects.
"When I see a couple of interest I will begin to negotiate," he says. "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."
croppedmamaandmayachin.jpg
4 of 10 Photographer Hal

Vacuum-sealed: Mama and Mayachin

Given that Photographer Hal finds most of his models in Tokyo's nightlife haunts, it's not surprising so many of them dress in hipster garb.
croppedcathalinsugimo.jpg
5 of 10 Photographer Hal

Vacuum-sealed: Cathalin and Sugimo

This couple, however, opted to do a plastic pas de deux in more traditional attire.
croppedringoandinga.jpg
6 of 10 Photographer Hal

Vacuum-sealed: Ringo and Inga

The pairs are bundled so tightly it can be hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. Though the subjects don't need to hold their breath for long (just 10 seconds), they'd probably best not be asphyxiation-phobic.
flesh1.jpg
7 of 10 Photographer Hal

Vacuum-sealed: Suzu and Miki

While the vacuum-sealed couples appear to exist in a world all their own, props are allowed into the packages. Photographer Hal shoots with a Pentax 645D dSLR and touches up in Adobe Photoshop CS3.
AliceKazuya.jpg
8 of 10 Photographer Hal

Vacuum-sealed: Alice and Kazuya

The portraits in the "Flesh Love" series convey a range of moods. This one of Alice and Kazuya has a rather tender feel.
croppedflesh3.jpg
9 of 10 Photographer Hal

Vacuum-sealed: Maico and Lime

The models in Photographer Hal's series have included musicians, dancers, strippers, laborers, photographers, and businessmen and women, both employed and unemployed. He has photographed almost 80 couples, gay and straight and of various ages and ethnic backgrounds.
cropped035andryo.jpg
10 of 10 Photographer Hal

Vacuum-sealed: #035_C and Ryo

As intensely personal as Photographer Hal's portraits are, he also intends to make a political statement: "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."

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More
John Cena attends Warner Bros. premiere of The Suicide Squad, in costume as Peacemaker.

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

95 Photos
The Best Games on Nintendo Switch in 2022
zelda-cnet-2.jpg

The Best Games on Nintendo Switch in 2022

36 Photos
The 51 Best VR Games
astro-bot-rescue-mission-screen-02-ps4-us-18may18

The 51 Best VR Games

53 Photos
Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More
thor4

Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

85 Photos
Hubble and James Webb Space Telescope Images Compared: See the Difference
james-webb-seq-00-14-05-10-still002

Hubble and James Webb Space Telescope Images Compared: See the Difference

12 Photos
Meet the US Navy's new $13 billion aircraft carrier
dcs09-371-5.jpg

Meet the US Navy's new $13 billion aircraft carrier

74 Photos
DIY scratched screen repair: Magic and myths
img9412.jpg

DIY scratched screen repair: Magic and myths

10 Photos