OSAMU YOKONAMI 1000 CHILDREN

by Laura Luppi

In nature there is no creature identical to another one despite the repeatability of its infinite duplications.

Each leaf, flower, living being, however similar to something else it may seem, isn’t perfectly identical to the other, nor are our innermost perceptions and feelings. The best way to become aware of this is to observe the whole from a distance so to perceive its apparent uniformity, and after a while, with a closer and more careful look, the differences emerge and become clear.

And we are more successful if we let art help us, with its watchful eye reflecting the external world, and the world within us.

In his series 1000 Children, photographer Osamu Yokonami shows us the individuality of each child as all the 1000 children are photographed in the same pose, with the same clothing, from the same angles and under the same lights. At first glance, this typology, with the consistencies of clothing and blank backgrounds, conveys a sense of aseptic homogeneity and uniformity of the subjects portrayed but it actually unmasks the vibrant individuality inherent in each child, as their reactions in front of the camera are unique and personal. The children are all photographed with a fruit placed in between their necks and shoulders but the result is – despite the same pose – 1000 different facial expressions in the attempt of balancing an orange or an apple on their shoulder while remaining serious and focused on the task. It’s likely that onlookers are intrigued by this anomaly and take more time to stare at those smiles, grimaces and funny expressions unstoppable in their immediacy. The communicative power of the series 1000 Children lies in this simplicity, without tricks and deceptions, capable of bringing out the emotional universe of children with grace and discretion, in contrast with the strictness of rules that tends to stereotype childhood.

Osamu Yokonami (1967, Kyoto) began this series in Thailand. 1000 children was originally started with 100 children aged three to five but Yokonami felt it was too small, so over the next six years he went on taking other children until he reached 1000 portraits, which in the meantime had become his final goal. The series was exhibited at the De Soto Gallery in Los Angeles and at the Emon Photo Gallery in Tokyo. 1000 Children has also become a book in English and Japanese published by Kusamura.

 

Photo credits: www.yokonamiosamu.jp
1 |  2012 redtomato No45
2 |  2010 greenapple No65
3 |  2010 greentomato No56
4 |  2010 redapple No56
5 | 2010 redapple No55
6 | 2012 dekopon No55
7 | 2010 dekopon No56
8 | 2012 green apple No56
9 | 2013 mango No44
10 | 2010 redcabbage No56
11 | 2011 pinkpeach No64

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