A return to the naive innocence of childhood
For “Children,” one of Osamu Yokonami’s most well-known series, the Japanese photographer asks young children to pose for the camera while holding a piece of fruit between their head and shoulder. The brief may seem simple but Yokonami’s images result in some of the most pure and direct captures of childlike innocence, individuality and personality in photography.
For “After Children,” Yokonami asked a number of his subjects, now junior high-school students, to restage the photographs of their childhood. Dressed in the same outfit, their hair and the fruit matching the photographs taken years before, the girls pose once again for the camera. In the photobook, each person’s photographs are juxtaposed, leading the viewer to observe, compare, and imagine.
“We often see one child at one moment in a single, linear chronology, mentioning how big they’ve grown up, how small they used to be; their eyes are shining differently, or they seem to have something in mind to say. However, here again, if we are to acknowledge the strong presence of ‘one child at one moment,’ comparison will paradoxically reveal the irreplaceable moment of each individual.”
― from artist Seiko Ito’s foreword (included in Japanese & English translation)