The photographs by Japanese photographer Hisaji Hara are wistfully reminiscent of the past. Hara is inspired by Balthus, one of the most revered artists of the 20th century. This inspiration is evident in the painterly qualities throughout all of Hara’s photographs. He captures the essence of Balthus’s works in a modern way by introducing new settings and new characters. Many of his photographs are created through multiple exposures all done in-camera. To control a sense of depth, Hara used a giant smoke machine to fill the room with a foggy backdrop. “Because I was shifting the focus as I took the multiple exposures, the optical perspective was impaired and I got a really attractive sense of space.”
When speaking about Balthus’s tendency to show young girls in erotic context, Hara said, “Perhaps the reason why Balthus dared to paint the limbs of a young girl was that he was attempting to provoke narrow-minded 20th century notions of eroticism. And so in this photographic series the dual presence of innocence and eroticism points to the objectification of 20th century values, which is itself an important part of the work.”
Hara’s photographs can be seen at the Michael Hoppen Gallery in London from February 24, 2012 through the end of March.