Kyoichi Tsuzuki’s Fashion Victims

The series ‘Happy Victims’ captures with tenderness and humour the paradoxes of consumer culture and designer obsessions.


Happy Victims : ‘Cosmic Wonder’, 2004 Colour photograph Lambda print on aluminium 120 x 150 cm Collection Mudam Luxembourg - Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean Acquisition 2003 © Kyoichi Tsuzuki

Honing in on the small specificities that might otherwise go unnoticed, Kyoichi Tsuzuki captures and reflects on the reality of living conditions in Japan today. Born in Tokyo in 1956, he is both a distinguished journalist and an institutionally recognised photographer. 

Treating editorial subjects with a touch of humour, the series Happy Victims (1999-2004) sees Kyoichi Tsuzuki capture portraits of individuals in their bedrooms, surrounded by piles and piles of clothes and accessories. Each of the 30 fashion victims shot by Kyoichi Tsuzuki has their own individual obsession. From Anna Sui to Vivienne Westwood, the cramped spaces filled with big brands are a testimony to the paradox of consumer culture. 


Peeping into intimate Japanese spaces

A photo book was produced after the series was completed; the 85 images are gathered together, and the subjects of each image are accorded space to explain the motivations for their compulsive consumption. ‘In fashion magazines, beautiful models live beautiful lives and wear beautiful clothes in beautiful homes,’ explains the publisher, Seigensha Art Press, ‘but as Tsuzuki comprehensively illustrates, the ones who buy the fashion brands are neither strikingly attractive nor occupy handsome dwellings.’

The series elaborates on a broader preoccupation within Kyoichi Tsuzuki’s work, that is, opening a door onto the intimate spaces of the Japanese people, challenging stereotypes of a specific minimalist aesthetic. In this way Happy Victims echoes the earlier A Certain Style for which the photographer captured the apartments and rooms of 100 Tokyoites, providing an insight into the clutter and the harmony that reigns behind closed doors. 


Happy Victims (2008), a photo book by Kyoichi Tsuzuki, is published by Seigensha Art Press.

Kyoichi Tsuzuki ‘Happy Victims : Paul & Joe’, 2001/2002 Colour photograph Lambda print on aluminium 80 x 102 cm Collection Mudam Luxembourg - Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean © Kyoichi Tsuzuki