Star of the Stars, Yoichi Nagata’s first book, presents his portraits of fantastically dressed clubgoers at events in Tokyo. It was privately published in 2014 in a limited edition of 300 autographed copies.
The photos document the Tokyo underground night scene from 2005 to 2013. Over those years Nagata visited late-night club events at Shinjuku, Shibuya, and elsewhere in Tokyo, setting up an ad hoc portrait studio in a small corner of the venue. The people he captured there are many and varied, hailing from not only within Tokyo but as far away as Kyushu and Niigata. One might try to classify them into this or that style—gothic Lolita, sweet Lolita, maid fashion, cyberpunk, bondage, Takuya Angel—but many are so fanciful as to defy genre and description.
What inspires these individuals to slip from their ordinary daytime selves as bank tellers or nurses into their phantasmagorical attire? Club regulars moreover often move on from simply dressing up to creating their own costumes or tattoing and piercing themselves to remake their very bodies. From a variety of approaches including the subjects’ own words, Star of the Stars seeks to delve into the heart of this phenomenon. In recognition of the essentiality of color to these fashions, Nagata arranges his collection to re-create the entire progression of hues from the depths of black on across the spectrum all the way to the dazzling white of light.
The book design is by HeiQuiti Harata, who gives shape to a unique “cover inside the pages” look. Rendered in high-cost, high-resolution six-color reproduction techniques, the plates achieve a level of quality that may very well surpass the original pigment inkjet prints.
Read the review by Sarah Bradley on photo-eye Blog