Celebrities are the subject of each of the photos in Kenji Hirasawa’s new book Celebrity, yet they cannot be seen, except for the most minor of shadows and shapes. Hirasawa has photographed tourists alongside wax figures of celebrities in Madame Toussads London with a thermographic camera, creating pixelated heat-based colour images of normal people posing proudly alongside the lifeless figures of their idols. The person behind the celebrity is reduced to a ghost, and what remains is the concept of celebrity experienced by the visitors. Real people demonstrate vanity and playfulness as they live out their representation of an ideal life: smiling, embracing and kissing the imitation celebrities. The heat of their bodies often manifesting as red-faced demons, it’s at once easy to recognize the humanity behind the celebrity worship as well as feel repelled by their urgent need to interact with the celebrities, even a cold, wax version of them. It’s ultimately an insightful study of humanity, flawed and frail, seeking satisfaction outside of the constraints of a disappointing reality.
Celebrity has been released as a limited edition of 500 copies and is available for sale by Bemojake.