Kazuo and Yoshito Ohno Studio, Yokohama

Photographs by Kevin Bubriski
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On a very hot summer
day in 1996 Nakamura
Tomatsu, his wife,
photography assistant and
I headed off in
Nakamura's van with
Hasselblad cameras, lights
and light stands from his
home in Nerima, Tokyo.
Even with the air
conditioning up full blast
and curtains on the
windows, the heat was
almost unbearable. Mid
afternoon we reached
Kazuo Ohno’s home and
studio in Yokohama.



Quietly and with few
words we were all
introduced, with Toshio
Mizohata, Ohno’s studio
manager, translating the
conversation between all
of us. I took several
portraits of Kazuo and
Yoshito together on the
stairs outside the studio.
Then Kazuo and Yoshito
Ohno were soon
preparing face and body
make up and costumes
while Nakamura, his
assistant Okamura and I
set up tungsten lighting–-
just what wasn’t needed in
the studio on such a hot
day but was necessary for
photography.



I photographed while
Kazuo and Yoshito put on
the makeup and then for
the next hour or more
through all the variations
in movement, gesture,
expression and costume.
Kazuo’s and Yoshito’s
generosity was absolutely
extraordinary. This entire
performance was for only
my camera.



We were all then invited
for dinner with Kazuo
Ohno’s entire family.
There were more than
twelve of us at the long
table—from ninety year
old Kazuo Ohno down to
primary school aged great
grandchildren.