“The park” A Voyeuristic Promenade by Kohei Yoshiyuki.
The Park series of black and white photographs takes the concept of voyeurism to the extreme. Shot by Japanese photographer Kohei Yoshiyuki back in the 1970s, the series depicts groups of voyeurs watching romantic trysts take place in Chuo, Aoyama and Yoyogi Parks in Tokyo. The shots were taken using infrared film and flash, lighting up their subjects – and the couples they watch – in hazy monochrome arcs, reminiscent of nocturnal animals shot in wildlife documentaries. Some spectators are shown trying to interact with the couples. The effect is discomforting – some scenes predatory.
Yoshiyuki, who published the series in 1980 and now exhibits the photographs in Tokyo’s Kamai Gallery spent several months getting acquainted with the voyeurs in order to be able to shoot these scenes. “My intention was to capture what happened in the parks, so I was not a real ‘voyeur’ like them,” he said. “But I think, in a way, the act of taking photographs itself is voyeuristic somehow.” He noted that the couples were largely unaware they were being watched, and when some voyeurs came close enough to touch them, “then trouble would happen.” Yoshiyuki still lives and works in Tokyo and has works exhibited around the world.