Hiroshi Watanabe is a photographer who was born and raised in Japan but is now a naturalized American citizen. Love Point is his most recent work, a lovingly printed edition published by Tosei-sha earlier this month, and available for sale now in the Japan Exposures bookstore.
Much of Watanabe’s work in the past has focused on an intersection of the real with artifice, as explored through such photo subjects as Noh masks, Bunraku puppets, and traditional Japanese performing monkeys. Even Watanabe’s book Ideology in Paradise, shot in North Korea, can be seen in a similar way.
Here Watanabe turns his attention to the silicone “love dolls” that seem to have enjoyed a “boom” in popularity over the last few years — or is that boom more of Westerners fascination with yet another entry into the “weird Japan” sweepstakes?
Be that as it may, Love Point is not meant to be about the phenomenona itself but rather is a measured, considered book of portraits of models and dolls (created by the Japanese company 4woods) where it becomes very difficult to tell who is who — or what is who, perhaps I should say. The pictures become an authentic look at the lack of authenticity.
The book includes an original short story by novelist and screenwriter Richard Curtis Hauschild (in English and Japanese translation), as well as afterword by Watanabe (in both English and Japanese).
You can see images from the book at the artist’s website.
Hardcover with dust jacket, 27cm x 26cm, 40 pages, 21 b/w photos.