HAYASHI NATSUMI

source:designboomcom

elevating the art of self-portraits to a new level – literally – tokyo-based photographer hayashi natsumi‘s work consists of the artist seemingly floating in midair within conventional settings in and around the japanese city. entitled ‘today’s levitation’, the series is updated daily with new photographs set in a variety of locations from a desolate street to a busy train platform.

using the aid of a simple tripod, the self-portraits are taken with a 10-second timer from a distance. all the poses are captured in mid-jump with no aid of a rigging system or photoshop. impossibly relaxed and composed, the floating subject injects a surreal atmosphere to the often normal set, rendering an image devoid of gravity or physics.
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source:asiasocietyorg

Tokyo-based photographer Natsumi Hayashi is known as the “levitation girl.” She became an internet sensation over the past year with her “Today’s Levitation” series, a self-portrait project consisting exclusively of images that capture her in mid-air, usually against an everyday urban backdrop.

Inspired by her stated intent to challenge the English-language expression “to have one’s feet firmly planted on the ground,” Hayashi’s images evoke a sense of playfulness and whimsicality. As a contemporary art project, the levitation series also seeks to explore the idea of truth in viewers’ perceptions — because while these photos show the photographer posed serenely in space, during her process Hayashi sometimes needs to jump a few hundred times in order to get the perfect shot.

We reached out to Hayashi through email to find out more about her levitation project.

What is the concept behind your levitation photography?

“Today’s Levitation” is my ongoing self-portrait-diary project. I have been updating it since the first day of the year [in] 2011 on my blog, called “yowayowa camera woman diary” — meaning “a feeble camera woman’s diary.” The blog is a fictional diary of 2011, so I do not update it in real time. In fact, the date for each blog entry can be later than the actual date I took the picture, as I spend a significant amount of time choosing the best shots. For example, the latest photo uploaded was dated June of 2011.

Why do you do this? What does this work mean to you?

Firstly, I got the idea of this series from an English idiom that says “to have one’s feet firmly planted on the ground,” applied to a practical type of person. In Japan, we have the exact same idiom, but I am not a practical type of person at all. Therefore, I try not to have my feet “firmly on the ground” in my self-portrait photos to show my true self. When I am free of the gravity inside the picture, I feel free of any obligation to society and live without being bound to many things. In contemporary societies, we are all surrounded by social stress as we are bound by the forces of the earth’s gravity. So I hope that people feel something of an instant release from stressful, practical days by seeing my levitation series.

Secondly, the most important thing is that photography has been accepted by our society as a tool for showing firm evidence of incidents through the past centuries. But it is changing now, I think. Our society is gradually finding out that photography doesn’t only show the truth but also shows untrue images. It is not only about digital manipulation with Photoshop but also about our long history of photographic propaganda. For example, politicians had been showing their “untruly” clean images through carefully controlled portraits through the 20th century. And now, we all know that those portraits never give us any reliable information about the politician’s truth. We all have been learning the two different ends of the possibilities of photography: showing the truth, and showing untrue images.

I think, therefore, my levitation series, as a contemporary art project, has to reflect this understanding of photographic expression…. I hope that my levitation series can be the key which awakens essential questions about things we can see through our eyes: “What is truth?” or “What is untruth?”

Your poses are so composed and natural. What’s your trick?

Usually, I do not go out just for taking levitation photos. Since the project is my diary, I prefer to “encounter” appropriate locations for my levitation through common daily activities. Therefore, I always carry my tripod and DSLR even when I just go shopping or to a meeting. After I find the location, I set up the equipment, fix the composition, and set the camera with the shutter speed of 1/500 second or faster to freeze my jumping movement. Then I entrust the shutter release button to my partner. Whenever I jump, he presses the button with perfect timing.

In many cases, I never give up and keep jumping until I’m satisfied with the results. Sometimes it requires me to take up to 300 frames apiece. In other words, it forces me to jump up to 300 times to get one perfect shot. The most important thing during mid-air is that I am controlling my posture to make viewers not expect my landing. For example, my shoe soles have to face up to the sky, and my eyes should never look at the landing point. And of course, my facial expression has to be very calm.

After the shooting, I have to choose the best shot. The key point of the best shot is that all my muscles look relaxed. Therefore, I forget everything I actually did at the shoot (jumps) and need to see all the shots freshly, without prejudice, to discover the “levitation” shot. To me, this part of the production is the most difficult and important aspect of my levitation series. Through choosing the best shot, I transcend the boundary between two realities, “the reality of [the] jump” and “the reality of levitation.” In other words, the boundary between “truth” and “untruth.”

What are you working on next?

I have been working on “STEREO (3D)” levitation photos occasionally since the beginning of the project. Since the project is a one-year, 365-day-diary, I’m reaching the halfway point of the project now. I will work on more “STEREO” levitation photos for the rest of the series from now on. This method had been invented in the 19th century, at the dawn of the history of photography. Using two sets of camera and lens which can work as our right and left eye, the method captures a set of different images simultaneously. We can see very realistic three-dimensional depth by seeing those images through our naked eyes.

It is so fascinating for me because this three-dimensional depth is produced by a set of ordinary two-dimensional images. This means that the realistic 3D depth is yielded by another reality. It is just like the theory of levitation photography — which is yielded by another reality, capturing a moment of jumps.
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source:oculacom

Hisaji Hara and Natsumi Hayashi are a Japanese photography duo. Before starting working together, they worked individually in Tokyo as photographers since 2009 on the series such as After Balthus (A Photographic Portrayal of the Paintings of Balthus) and Today’s Levitation respectively. After experiencing the Great East Japan Earthquake and the subsequent nuclear disaster in 2011, they had moved out from Tokyo to Southern part of Japan and started working together as a duo. Since then, they have been working on the series called Gazing Into the World which mainly focuses on collaborating with local children in Kyushu Island where the duo currently is based in. Their work is collected by several museums around the world.
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source:hypesciencecom

A jovem japonesa Natsumi Hayashi se tornou sensação na internet depois que começou a postar fotos de si mesma levitando em todos os tipos de lugares ao redor de Tóquio.

Ela postou a primeira foto em setembro de 2010, e o sucesso foi tanto que ela iniciou uma longa série de fotos no ar. As fotografias são populares principalmente pelas poses e expressões naturais, que fazem qualquer um jurar que ela está realmente flutuando. Mas a adolescente japonesa jura que não é mágica.

Natsumi define o temporizador de sua máquina fotográfica, ou pede para um amigo fazer isso, e então começa a saltar. Isso soa simples, mas pode ser um pouco complicado na prática, já que algumas vezes a jovem tem que saltar 300 vezes até conseguir uma foto de levitação perfeita.

Natsumi diz que às vezes os transeuntes que vêem ela saltando ficam um pouco nervosos e começam a sussurrar ao redor dela, mas quase nunca há dificuldade em sua arte causada por eles. Infelizmente, Natsumi parou de postar fotos flutuando em maio deste ano. Ela está sem muito tempo para “levitar” por aí, mas todos os apreciadores da arte esperam que ela volte a este fantástico mundo em breve.
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source:wordssidekickcom

Natsumi Hayashi maakt vliegen makkelijk. Maar de zelfportretten die de Toyko-fotograaf lijken te laten zweven boven de grond zijn eigenlijk het resultaat van veel hard werk.

“Soms moet ik meer dan 300 keer springen om de perfecte foto te maken”, vertelde Hayashi op 8 juni aan MSNBC.com.

Hayashi blogt dagelijks een zwevende foto van de dag op haar website, // yowayowacamera.com/. Of ze nu werkt met een assistent of met een zelfontspanner, ze gebruikt fotografie om zichzelf te bevriezen in de lucht in diners, telefooncellen en op trottoirs in Tokyo.

Hayashi maakt geen botten over dat haar levitatie een illusie is, maar andere mensen in de geschiedenis hebben beweerd dat ze de zwevende truc echt hebben afgedwongen. Schots medium Daniel Dunglas Home, die beroemd was aan het eind van de negentiende eeuw, beweerde te kunnen zweven tijdens seances. Volgens het boek “Paranormaal begaafden en mediums in Canada” (Dundurn, 2005) beweerden drie getuigen dat Home vanuit een venster op de derde verdieping recht uit een raam zou komen en op één decemberdag in 1868 het huis op de tweede verdieping binnen zou zweven.

Niemand heeft Home’s leverkrachten ooit weerlegd, maar andere mediums gebruikten indertijd draden en podiumillusies om wat lucht te krijgen. Tegenwoordig hebben goochelaars hun eigen kneepjes in het vak om het te laten lijken alsof ze zweven, inclusief broeken waaraan valse voeten zijn bevestigd, zodat ze een voet naar buiten kunnen schuiven en op een nabijgelegen platform kunnen stappen.

Psychische levitatie is misschien een mythe, maar wetenschappers zijn erin geslaagd om insecten en zeer kleine dieren te laten zweven, met behulp van geluidsgolven en magneten. Het proces klinkt echter niet erg comfortabel: tijdens een studie uit 2009 schopte een muis met behulp van een supergeleidende magneet zichzelf in een ongecontroleerde draai, gedesoriënteerd en in paniek. De volgende keer dat de wetenschappers een muis zweefden, kalmeerden ze het eerst.