Editorial — HAL

Flesh Love Returns

The Japanese photo artist HAL packs couples of any kind in vacuum bags for his stunning pictures. Through this, he shows that love can be so strong that one would like to merge with the other person.

13. September 2020 — MYP N° 29 »Vacuum« — Photography & text: HAL

Eike & Melanie

Nobuyuki & Chiemi

I want to express love through my work—because everything in the world is based on love. Everyone loves family and lovers. But I think it is important whether it is directed around us. If it is not directed, it will sometimes create disparities or create conflicts. And only love may have the power to bring all things together, even across races and disparities. So, we should spread the sense of love outward and spread the link of love more and more across the various communities.

Taichi & Kazumi

Jon & Evelyne

People who love each other are instinctively attracted to each other, and they hope to become one. To represent this power of love, I have photographed couples vacuum-sealed—a project that I called “Flesh Love Returns.” For that, I shot the couples at their most important places. They decided on the location and I decided on the best angle there. Some couples chose their own room, some choose the workplace where they first met, and some chose a restaurant where they had their very first date. Two people, perfectly packed in their best place.

Kohmey & Keiko

Through the medium of photography, the couple has become my chosen vehicle to express the principle theme of the world: love. This of course requires a search to find subjects who are willing to participate. So, I use to go to Kabukicho in Shinjuku, underground bars in Shibuya and many other places which are full of activity like luscious nighttime beehives. When I see a couple of interest I start to negotiate. 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. The models appear from all walks of life and individually have included musicians, dancers, strippers, laborers, restaurant and bar managers, photographers, businessmen, and women, unsettled and unemployed, et al.

Eddy & Ashbee

Kenta & Aki

As a couple, I have photographed a wide variety of variables which include being young and old, from the same or opposite sex, of different races, having different styles, girls from the north and men from the south, and many others who have been willing to participate. There have been occasions when the situation has become complicated, for example, if a couple has disagreements, begin to argue or even fight! There are also the inevitable no-shows and the couples who split up before I can complete the images. On one assignment I had to visit a prison later to obtain permission for the final print. Happily though, for the most part, I’ve had many joyful moments with many interesting scenes to capture. There was even a couple who married soon after one event, and it all began in a bathtub!

Johnnie & Kafka

Kaede & Attci

Marijntje & Jaap

Ryo & Tomomi

Ruby & Brian

Sho & Eri


Sae & Kazuma