After his previous work “Thirteen Orphans” and “Ten Disciples”, Yamagata continues to focus on the marginalized population. In his new work “SURVEILLANCE”, objectified young women in their rooms are automatically taken by an infrared camera designed for monitoring animals, completely setting aside the normal relationship between the photographer and the subject.

“Sometimes they consciously pose in front of the camera, and at other times they don’t do anything. They know about the spectators’ existence but sometimes they simply forget about how they are being watched.” - Yumi Aota

“Since I have gotten older, I have become curious about the lives of women in their 20s. For some reason I find many of them quite cold and daring. In this work, I have looked into their lives in order to find out what is behind their charm and mystery.

I began searching for collaborators for the project through online bulletin boards and acquaintances. We met up to discuss about the project. Coming from different backgrounds, office workers, teachers, art students, and so on, they would tell me a lot of things about their work and family.

After explaining the concept of this project, I passed to them an infrared trail camera that was originally designed to monitor animals. The camera does not need any form of operation - it automatically captures without emitting any sound or light when it detects movements. Pictures taken cannot be reviewed with the camera. The participants moved around freely in their rooms in the presence of the camera. No photographer was present. When they returned the camera to me, they seemed to be more curious about the results than I was, as if they were peeking into the lives of other people.” - Tsutomu Yamagata

Artist Profile


Born in Tokyo in 1966. Graduated from Department of Law, Keio University. He is a member of the Japan Professional Photographers Society and the Photographic Society of Japan. His major solo exhibitions so far include “Ten Disciples” at Zen Foto Gallery, 2016 and gallery 176, 2017, as well as “Thirteen Orphans” at Zen Foto Gallery, 2012 and Colorado Photographic Arts Center, 2013. His main publications include Thirteen Orphans (New Edition by Case Publishing & Zen Foto Gallery, 2017), Ten Disciples (Zen Foto Gallery, 2016), Thirteen Orphans (Zen Foto Gallery, 2012), and Bulgarian Rose (Private edition, 2011). Yamagata participated in the group exhibition “Pale Red Dot” at Athens Photo Festival in 2018. His works are included in the collections of University of New Mexico Art Museum, USA and Dr Bhau Daji Lad Museum, Mumbai.

Gallery Exhibitions