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23 February 2011

Yowayowa camera woman aka Natsumi Hayashi


click images to enlarge
Natsumi Hayashi is a Tokyo-based photographer who goes by the name of yowayowa (weakling) camera woman, poking fun at herself that she can barely carry her own camera. She began publicly documenting her work in 2009, which began with mundane shots of food and her two cats. In 2010 the photo-diary took an unexpected turn, morphing into a showcase of a series titled “today’s levitation” where, intermingled with photos of her cats (not levitating), she would post photos of herself frozen in mid-air.

From a technical perspective, it’s impressive how still some of the photos appear. It’s hard to imagine that a strong force of energy was exerted in order to boost her into the air. Perhaps what’s so fascinating about the images is the absence of energy and a moment, quite literally, frozen.


Another reason I am drawn to some of the images is that, while entirely playful in nature, there is a subversive, somewhat rebellious underlying theme. In a society that quietly enforces conformity, a person who takes pictures while publicly jumping in the air is bound to stick out. And her attraction to locations where such acts would be frowned upon or considered dangerous – train platforms and elevated crossings – only help to stir up apprehension.

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