Kohei Yoshiyuki, ‘The Park’, Sotheby's

Each signed and numbered in ink and stamped in red ink on the reverse, framed, 1971-73, printed later, each from an edition of 10 (10).

Each 12 3/8 by 18 1/4 in. (31.4 by 46.3 cm.)

From the Catalogue:
Beginning in the 1970s, Kohei Yoshiyuki documented the clandestine tryst tradition in Tokyo’s parks, training his camera not only on unsuspecting lovers but also on the voyeurs who watched “hidden” in the bushes. The 35mm camera, infrared film, and flash that Yoshiyuki used to photograph at night lend a noticeable snapshot quality to these images. Exhibited for the first time in Tokyo in 1979, The Park was initially published in 1980 and reedited in 2007. In The Photobook: A History, Volume II, Martin Parr considers The Park ‘a brilliant piece of social documentation’ (p. 296). Images from this series are in many museum collections, including The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Art; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
—Courtesy of Sotheby's

About Kohei Yoshiyuki

While working as a commercial photographer in Tokyo, Kohei Yoshiyuki took a nighttime stroll through a public park, stumbling across what would become the subject of the strange, disturbing series for which he is famous: couples having sex and the moth-like voyeurs who watch them. Titled “The Park” (1970s), this series of black-and-white photographs was shot with a handheld camera and infrared film. Raw and grainy, the photographs capture the voyeurs from behind, as they surreptitiously approach the couples. The voyeurs-eye view implicates Yoshiyuki, viewers of his work, and photography itself in this violation of privacy. “My intention was to capture what happened in the parks, so I was not a real ‘voyeur’,” he explains. “But I think…the act of taking photographs itself is voyeuristic somehow. So I may be a voyeur, because I am a photographer.”

Japanese, b. 1946, Hiroshima, Japan

Group Shows

New York,
Acts of Intimacy: The Erotic Gaze in Japanese Photography