Following earlier photobooks (“They Called Me Yukari”, “Mama Love”) in which Hideka Tonomura processed the seedier sides of life, her new work “die of Love” can be considered as her own “theatre of love” - a love story woven by happiness, sadness, difficulties and ridiculousness. Printed in thick, rich colors on fine, almost vulnerably thin paper, Tonomura’s images build towards an impression of the wavering between hope and despair in life.

“Love has no form
If love has a form,
let it be a photograph in the very end
It’s nothing but paper
Just laugh -
Life itself is ridiculous, after all

Ah, a tragicomedy, it is”

— Hideka Tonomura, "die of love"

Artist Profile

Hideka TONOMURA

Born in 1979, Hideka Tonomura graduated from the Broadcasting and Filmmaking Department of Osaka Visual Arts School and began photography in 2002. She published her first photobook “mama love” in 2008 with Akaaka Art Publishing, revealing her deepest pain and the dark, hidden secrets of her family, which made an unforgettable impression on the public. In 2013 she published “They called me Yukari” with Zen Foto Gallery, in which she documented the life and people around her when she worked as a hostess in Kabukicho, Shinjuku. Her other publications include “orange elephant” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2015), “cheki” (Morel Books, 2018), “die of love” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2018), “SHINING WOMAN #cancerbeauty” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2020), “mama 恋 love” [New Edition] (Zen Foto Gallery, 2021) and “Toxic” (Zen Foto Gallery, 2022).

Tonomura launched the “SHINING WOMAN PROJECT” in 2019, a portrait project dedicated to women fighting cancer. In 2022, her debut work “mama love” was collected by the MEP – La Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris.

Actively presenting her work in and out of Japan, her major solo exhibitions include “Unlucky Family”, Nikon Salon, Tokyo and Osaka (2004); “Tonomura Hideka Shageki –0305–”, Uplink, Tokyo (2005); “Viva Hostess’s Life”, Club Ginko, Tokyo (2007); “mama 恋 love”, Trunk Gallery 81, Seoul (2011); “They called me Yukari / mama 恋 love”, Zen Foto Gallery (2013); “orange elephant”, Zen Foto Gallery, Tokyo and Galeria About Art, Spain (2016); “die of love”, Zen Foto Gallery (2018); “SHINING WOMAN #cancerbeauty”, Zen Foto Gallery (2020) and Okayama Gender Equality Promotion Center, Okayama (2021); “Paint Cheki”, Place M, Tokyo (2021); and “Love”, Zen Foto Gallery (2022). Her major group exhibitions include “Shikijo: Eroticism in Japanese Photography”, Blindspot Gallery, Hong Kong (2016); Daiwa Foundation Japan House Gallery, London (2018); “10/10 Celebrating Contemporary Japanese Women Photographers”, Kyotographie (2022) and “Love Songs”, Maison Européenne de la Photographie (2022).

Gallery Exhibitions