Work / Photography

Photographer Zaza Bertrand takes a look inside the Japanese love hotels

Belgian artist and photographer Zaza Bertrand has documented the comings and goings at Japanese love hotels or “rabuhos", places available for sexual encounters. Japanese love hotels have proved a popular topic for eager photographers that visit the country, but often focus on the fantastical and often gaudy interiors. Zaza’s images offer a different perspective, placing the viewer in the persona of a voyeur in a series of compelling but often uncomfortable images.  

Zaza’s pictures capture everything from the exteriors of these anonymous buildings and the intimate moments happening within. There is a sense of disjointed narrative across the whole series with stories hinted out but never explained. “As an outsider looking in, Zaza attempted to capture these innate dichotomies and paradoxes,” says the gallery. “Her physical presence, yet inability to communicate with her subjects, creates a tension so palpable between her and the visitors she portrays (or models as she prefers to call them), it echoes through in her imagery.”

The photo series has just been announced as the winner of the Ibasho photo competition, run by the Antwerp-based gallery that will now exhibit her work. Her work will be central in the upcoming exhibition of all artists shortlisted for the Ibasho prize, and will be shown alongside images by Rasa Anaityte, Christian Arts, Tine Guns, Bruno Quinquet and Mayumi Suzuki.

The book of the series: Zaza Bertrand, Japanese Whispers is available from Artpaper Editions priced € 30,00


Zaza Bertrand: Uguisudani, Tokyo; 2016. Courtesy of the artist


Zaza Bertrand: Kaisuke + Miki, Fukuoka; 2016. Courtesy of the artist


Zaza Bertrand: Terauchi, Uguisudani, Tokyo; 2016. Courtesy of the artist


Zaza Bertrand: Flowers, Naha, Okinawa; 2016. Courtesy of the artist


Zaza Bertrand: Orion, Kabuki-Cho, Tokyo; 2016. Courtesy of the artist


Zaza Bertrand: Chiba, Tokyo; 2016. Courtesy of the artist