Paper is one of the great artistic chameleons. This easily accessible material that’s used in crafting incredible, gallery-worthy works of art is the same that contains crude sketchbook doodles never meant to see the light of day. It’s this fascinating dichotomy that entices creatives to experiment and use paper art as the centerpiece of their work. Depending on technique, paper can look wildly different.
Natsumi Hayashi is a sweet-looking Japanese girl who, one day, decided to take self-portraits..of herself levitating. She can be spotted in and around Tokyo, equipped with her SLR and her self-timer. When she feels the moment strike, she presses the shutter button down and then, quite literally, “jumps” into place.
What I love most about her shots is that they don’t feel forced. Natsumi has a way of making us feel as though she naturally levitates throughout life.
When I asked her how others react to her jumping around Tokyo, here is a funny story that she shared. “One day, when I was jumping at a famous sightseeing spot in western Tokyo, workers at a souvenir shop were frightened by how I was jumping. They were whispering things like ‘Is the girl mentally ill’ and ‘Do we need to call the police?’
“So I stopped jumping and apologized to them by saying, ‘I am taking jumping photos for my wedding party’s slide show.’ Their faces turned bright red, and they said things like ‘Oh dear!’ and ‘Congratulations!’ and even ‘Keep jumping!’
“Then, I took one of the best levitation shots of the entire series.”
“We are all surrounded by social stress as we are bound by the forces of earth’s gravity,” Natsumi says when asked why she took on the series. “So, I hope that people feel something like an instant release from their stressful days by seeing my levitation photos.”