After his previous work “Thirteen Orphans” and “Ten Disciples”, Yamagata continues to focus on the marginalized population. In his new work “SURVEILLANCE”, objectified young women in their rooms are automatically taken by an infrared camera designed for monitoring animals, completely setting aside the normal relationship between the photographer and the subject.
“Sometimes they consciously pose in front of the camera, and at other times they don’t do anything. They know about the spectators’ existence but sometimes they simply forget about how they are being watched.” - Yumi Aota
“Since I have gotten older, I have become curious about the lives of women in their 20s. For some reason I find many of them quite cold and daring. Perhaps they have grown stronger after repeated disappointments, or they have simply become tired of things. I wonder if they are trying to display their confidence and self-reliant capacity to survive life’s journey. In this work I have looked into their lives in order to find out what is behind their charm and mystery.
I began searching for collaborators for the project through online bulletin boards and acquaintances. Those who were interested in participating would send me emails with details of their age, height and a profile picture. We met up to discuss about the project, and unexpectedly I found all of them very open and calm. Coming from different backgrounds, office workers, teachers, art students, and so on, they would tell me a lot of things about their work and family. They seemed to be very strong-willed but also very fragile and innocent. Meeting them in person did not change the impression I had of them in the beginning.
After explaining the concept of this project, I passed to them an infrared trail camera that was originally designed to monitor animals. The camera does not need any form of operation - it automatically captures without emitting any sound or light when it detects movements. Pictures taken cannot be reviewed with the camera. The participants moved around freely in their rooms in the presence of the camera.” - Tsutomu Yamagata