Osamu Yokonami turns school rituals into art

You’d be chilled to find these girls out on your cliff-top hike...

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We all remember school assembly, that gathering with your fellow pupils, often seated on the floor cross-legged, listening as Mr or Mrs So-and-So revealed the news of the day. Kyotoborn photographer Osamu Yokonami takes these school rituals as inspiration for his latest series, entitled Assembly.

His photographs look specifically at teenage schoolgirls as they come together naturally in small groups. They roam around in uniform (and in unison) against striking landscapes, looking as though they lost their way while out on a school trip. Yokonami achieves a striking simplicity, forcing us to consider the power of dress—wearing school uniforms, the girls’ individuality dissolves and the expression of the group comes to the fore.

Although maybe delicate things, through Yokonami’s framing the girls’ group dynamic is captured in a strange light—almost eerie and horror movie-esque. Think: The Sound of Music meets The Virgin Suicides, with children donning geisha costumes. Put it this way: you’d be chilled to find them while out on your cliff-top hike.

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www.yokonamiosamu.jp

www.sophie-maree.com

By Kelsey Lee Jones

Images courtesy of Sophie Maree Gallery