Darkness does not conceal. In fact, the more shadows on the horizon, the more our senses perceive what the eyes cannot. Perhaps by darkening reality we can finally touch or hear the truths of this world.
After the last rays of sun have dissolved, when the cold earth lies beneath a moonless sky, men forget their passion. But that does not mean they omit their desires. The perverse lust that only appears after dusk becomes an exercise in recognizing true eroticism.
At first sight, it appears as if the Formentos, the couple behind this photography project, are attempting to create a series based on pure carnality. However, they aim at guiding us through a path of pure ecstasy. It is in this seemingly sinister environment where the erotic imagination becomes different, exquisite, and full of direction.
BJ and Richeille Formento create images that are borderline cinematic while maintaining an anthropological, almost documentarian, sense. The couple began collaborating in 2005 by combining BJ’s experience in fashion and street style photography with Richeille’s art director aesthetic.
They capture several themes, such as everyday life seen from a Western point of view, or glimpses of archaic Eastern traditions that are almost forgotten. Cultural and aesthetic implications are presented in scenes full of color that match the drama of the after-hours with naked bodies full of excess and delicate folklore.
“We wanted to capture the peculiarity, the eccentricity of Japanese culture before it becomes diluted beyond recognition through the influence of modernity,” Richeille explained about their work in Japan.
The Japan Diaries, as this collection is called, is the result of late nights and shadows that don’t seek to hide anything, but want to reveal everything possible and bring it forward. The mystery of Japan and its complete otherness, when compared to Western culture, is only broadened when talking about sexuality. The darkness, lit only by neon lights and that ferverous identity that gives rise to wonder from the rest of the world, is a consequence from the traditions they treasure as much as their pop culture.
The bizarre quality that can be admired from ancient Japanese art acquires new hues in the work of the Formentos. The sensuality of a city so close to the sea makes the characters and feelings of the air turn extravagant in each portrait.
While the fetishes are not explicit, what BJ and Richeille do embrace are highly suggestive scenarios that encompass the fetish, a night of pleasure, and unexpected encounters. With a gaze focused on Japan and an attitude that does not intend to leave this culture forgotten, this duo’s imagery expresses romance, charm, and feelings in a place that blinds through it’s dark corners.
The Japan Diaries is a quasi-staged production, but remains a visceral, unmeasured, barely controlled, and impressionist work that takes us from the unsual to the narrative.
Translated by María Suárez