“Only I can deal with my own reality

And it is I who makes the most perfect photographic vector to my own reality

While I am bound by reality yet I will unravel it
There is no point in living for a hundred years

I am made of soul and flesh
I remain in my photographs

Within their ethical framework people are eating

Sometimes photography eats taboo
And love craves it

There are no ethics in love

When love takes over
Photography becomes toxic”

It is my own choice to put my life on the line for photography.
It’s not a path that someone else chose for me. It’s a path that I chose for myself.

My photography is about constantly devoting my body and soul to “I” and “self” between “reality” and “actuality”, assimilating the reality right in front of me, and visualising the reality and actuality that cannot be seen.

I believe in the philosophy of reality and actuality.

It is my greatest wish that my philosophy will be able to touch the hearts of the people and accompany them in this world today and in the future.

I am putting my life into how deep I can dive with my photography.

It is the artist’s job to pursue the ideal.

― artist’s statement

In dark, lust-filled, inquisitive photographs, Japanese artist Hideka Tonomura examines the question of love and its taboos and absurdities. Similar to previous photobooks by Tonomura on the topic of love, such as “mama love” and “die of love,” the photographs themselves become seemingly form part of the pictures. Tonomura’s exploration of love is tied to the medium in which she operates, with subjects posing and sometimes gazing straight at the camera, and though not strictly self-portraiture, with “Toxic” Tonomura also appears to explore her own self within the photographs.

-Book Size
210 × 148 mm
88 pages, 41 images
-Publication Year
English, Japanese
-Limited Edition

Artist Profile


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).

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); “Shining Woman Project at Kyotographie 2022” (2022); 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).

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.

Gallery Exhibitions