Zen Foto Gallery is pleased to announce a new exhibition, “orange elephant” by Hideka Tonomura from March 9 to April 2.

“orange elephant” follows her debut “mama love” (2008) and the subsequent “They called me Yukari” (2013). Her latest works again comprise monochrome and colour works, as Tonomura observes the fragility of her personal emotions and her life experiences, with her photographs in the spirit of lyric poetry.

Among these images, some are ambiguous while others are resolute, projecting her sentiment and the struggle for hope. Depression haunts us for a major part of our daily life. Perhaps it is a kind of salvation that we are able to live on. While waiting for death, hope is the only comfort. Fluid lights intersect within uncertain boundaries; the binaries of illusions and disillusions, happiness and depression, reveal the most intimate fragments of life that she encounters in private.

In conjunction with the exhibition, a photography book of the same title is newly published by Zen Foto Gallery. Designed by Hideki Nakajima in a limited edition of 700 copies.

From June 2, Hideka Tonomura’s “orange elephant” will also be exhibited at Galería About Art (Pontevedra, Spain).

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