Celebrity by Kenji Hirasawa
Music by Tujiko Noriko & Aoki Takamasa
Both a documentary analysis and a conceptual deliberation, Celebrity is a visually exciting criticism on the social impact of idolisation and capricious desires. Who are these people we admire so much, what role do they play in our lives, and what absurdities do they evoke from us?
Photographing wax work models at Madame Tussauds of supposedly aspirational figures, Hirasawa presents us with social relationships both separated and intensified by these lifeless figures we call celebrities, ingeniously creating metaphors of themselves, as existential intimations which we can never actually be close to.
The images themselves are taken with a thermographic camera, recording heat emitted from visitors' bodies, where the lifeless wax work models are barely seen... each pixel records specific temperature information. As one moves through the book, various emotions and interactions take place; humour, aggression, playfulness, regret and reverie...
A truly original and contemporary photography book which aims to delight as well as scrupulate.
Selected as Best Book of 2011 in Photo-Eye by:
- Aron Morel
Selected in Claire De Rouen's Top Ten Books of 2011
"Kenji Hirasawa's Celebrity is one of those rare photography series that you fall in love with instantly. The photographs are a perfect and very simple metaphor for our relationship to celebrities - real people (us) attempting to interact with dreams (them). To say that the cult of celebrity is the worship of empty people is obvious, but to show it is brilliant.
The point is clear: look to yourself for vitality and meaning, not phantasms."
- Erik Kessels, 2011
"[Celebrity is] ultimately an insightful study of humanity, flawed and frail, seeking satisfaction outside of the constraints of a disappointing reality."
- Katherine Oktober Matthews, GUP Magazine, September 2011.
"One of the most original photobooks to emerge of late... A unique and intelligent work."
- Kevin J. Clarke, Hotshoe Magazine, Oct/Nov 2011.
"Clever, conceptual stuff."
- Creative Review, October 2011.