Tokyo-based Photographer Hal believes that at the dawn of time, lovers were fused to one another and were somehow torn asunder. For this reason, he suggests, we spend our time on earth searching for our counterpart so that at long last, we can be made whole once more.
From this poetic notion was born Flesh Love, a series of international renown. For years, the photographer has vacuum sealed couples into thick plastic bags, compressing their bodies into a single mass.
Photographer Hal likens falling in love to being pulled headlong into a black hole; it’s irresistible, and it’s the closest we ever come to immortality. Like being entombed in plastic, it can also be frightening. The Flesh Love process requires that lovers break down both psychical and psychical boundaries.
All couples are completely safe, since the process only lasts an instant. They are coated in lubricant to prevent any burns from the plastic. The video below demonstrates precisely how it’s done. They cease breathing for a few seconds, and in the past, a few have tried to scream or wet themselves in panic, but the intense part of the process lasts only for one to two snaps of the shutter then passes.
While most of the Flesh Love images are shot on Photographer Hal’s own kitchen floor, the most recent series, Flesh Love Returns, finds the lovers in the haunts they cherish the most. The artist visited them at their houses or at work or in any other location that carries the weight of an intimate and private memory. As they are interred in plastic, we see their history in a single instant; like the lovers who came before them, they were broken apart, collided, and found their way back home.
Flesh Love Returns was shortlisted at the Sony World Photography Awards 2016. Buy the most recent Flesh Love book here, and download the Flesh Love app here.
All images © Photographer Hal