“Mr. Freedom” is a collection of self-portraits and portraits taken by Shomei Tomatsu. Given the necessary freedom to interpret the series’ brief however he saw fit, Shomei decided to act out his desire for self-transformation. In each of the self-portraits, Shomei acts out a different role in his studio, changing from a prisoner’s uniform into a ceremonial monk’s robe, a butler suit or a soldier’s uniform.
“Regarding the positions and professionse those costumes represented, I had never thought of any of them as being related to myself, be it due to lacking talent, poor social standing, different preferences, or just my weak-heartedness,” writes Shomei.
In addition to his self-portraits, Shomei also asked Daido Moriyama, Masahisa Fukase and Nobuyoshi Arashi to pose for portraits. Unlike Araki and Fukase (who posed in the nude), Moriyama was asked to dress up.
Moriyama: “I told him to go ahead, only to hear that he wanted me to dress up as a woman for the shot. What?! Me in drag?? … Tomatsu, you bastard!!”
All texts by Shomei Tomatsu and Daido Moriyama included in Japanese and English translation.