Couples and families vacuum-packed in front of their houses and gardens, which are also wrapped in plastic. Under the pseudonym Photographerhal, the Japanese photographer Haruhiko Kawaguchi presents a disturbing series of portraits about anxiety for a perfect life. Today the culture of productivity is also translated into design of the self as a personal brand, which is manufactured for public admiration and consumption and which, in its most conservative version, is extended to the family environment exhibited as a trophy: romantic love, children and a good house are proof of success in all areas of life.
With his plastic-wrapped figures on the verge of suffocation, Photographerhal points to the toxic reverse of this culture of perfect existence in which it seems that we are all on the cover of our own gossip magazine. Psychologists warn that the more real life differs from what we see, the greater the risk of mental health disorders. They also say that the continued consumption of false images of other people’s fulfilment is one of the causes that links the use of social networks with anxiety syndromes.
Haruhiko Kawaguchi was born in Tokyo in 1971 and currently lives in Tokyo. He learned photography while working in the photographic department of an advertising agency. As a Photographerhal, he has exhibited his work in solo and group shows in Japan, the United States, Taiwan, Canada, Australia, France and the Netherlands. He has participated in festivals such as Les Rencontres d’Arles, Breda Photo or OFF Bratislava, among others. His work is part of the contemporary art collection of the renowned collector Jean Pigozzi as well as the Tokyo Photographic Art Museum and the Black Gold Museum in Saudi Arabia. In 2021 he was part of the Top 10 of Len’s Culture Critics’ Choice and has received other awards such as the Sony World Photography Award and PX3 Prix de la Phographie Paris.
Getxophoto is an image festival created and managed by Begihandi, that has been taking place in Getxo—Basque Country, Euskadi—since 2007. This festival is part of a cultural ecosystem with the aim of being more participatory, hybrid, committed and sustainable. This thematic Festival is conceived as a platform that addresses contemporary challenges through different proposals, from visual storytellers around the world, in an attempt to create spaces for reflection and establish a collective conversation. Getxophoto is characterized by the radical defense of public space (both physical and online). For this reason, most of its programme is composed of outdoor installations, highlighting, on the one hand, the link between the image and the environment and, on the other, generating a more horizontal and participatory relationship with the public.
María Ptqk is the curator of GETXOPHOTO 2023.