Zen Foto Gallery is pleased to present “Love”, an exhibition by Hideka Tonomura from June 3 to July 2. This exhibition marks Hideka’s 5th solo presentation at Zen Foto Gallery following her exhibitions “They Called Me Yukari / mama love” in 2013, “orange elephant” in 2016, “die of love” in 2018 and “SHINING WOMAN #cancerbeauty” in 2021. In conjunction with her participation at the exhibition “Love Songs” at Maison Européenne de la Photographie, Paris (on view until August 21) and “10/10 Celebrating Contemporary Japanese Women Photographers” at Kyotographie International Photography Festival (on view until May 8) which have both received great acclaims, this exhibition will present her participating series “mama love” and “die of love”, and her latest work “TOXIC” as a trilogy on the theme of love. The “TOXIC” series is Tonomura’s latest attempt in philosophically exploring the essence of love and life with photography, and the exhibition will feature her photo theatrical cinema “mama love”, which has never been shown in any exhibitions so far.


I am the only one who can deal with my own reality

And I am the one who performs the best photographic act towards my own reality

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

I am made of spirit and flesh
I remain in the photograph

People eat under the ethics

Sometimes photography eats the taboos
And love desires for it

Love has no ethics

When love takes over
Photography becomes toxic

— Hideka Tonomura, "TOXIC"

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.

Publications & Prints