JAPANESE SWIMMERS, THE GUARDIAN
Written for 'the Grid' feature in the Observer New Review and published nationally on the 3rd of March 2018. I selected this photographer, Osamu Yokonami, after thorough research, before writing up this profile on their Japanese Swimmers series.
Inspired by nature and the changing of the seasons, Japanese photographer Osamu Yokonami shoots groups of anonymous people in pastoral, often dream-like, landscapes. For his latest in the series, Mizugi – “bathing suit” in Japanese – he took a swimming team on a day trip from Tokyo to the beach for a collection of photos representing spring. Yokonami chose the swimmers because he “wanted to shoot the texture of skin” and his pictures vividly capture goosebumps, gritty sand on thighs, bodies soaking up brief moments of sunshine.
Yokonami photographs his subjects in these natural settings, their faces concealed, as it “makes us realise the strength of a group by seeing them as a single mass,” he says. Mizugi was commissioned by photo book publisher Libraryman as the first in a new quarterly collection called Seasons Series. It marks a favourite time of year for Yokonami: “Spring brings mild weather after the cold winter,” he says. “The warmer it gets, the more excited I am.”