Natsumi Hayashi’s levitation photos

The main focus of Natsumi Hayashi’s work is her levitation photos, as seen in this photo album. Using a camera with a shutter speed of 1/500thof a second, Hayashi photographs herself “levitating” in the urban setting of Tokyo. While many people associate the act of levitating with that of jumping, there is indeed a noticeable difference, as Hayashi claims. Jumping is simply the action of moving up, with many movements in between. However, levitating emphasizes the “natural flow of time”, in  which Hayashi meticulously makes a specific pose for the picture while in flight. The difference between a “jump photo” and a “levitation photo” can be seen below.

Many movements are involved in this "jump photo" (courtesy of

In contrast, Hayashi is smooth in her "levitation" (© Natsumi Hayashi)

In the first photo, a group of hikers are jumping — no symmetry, no flow However, in the latter photo, which was taken from the photo album, Hayashi truly gives the illusion of levitation. Her pose reflects grace and beauty, which meshes with the serene and empty setting. Her streaming hair and her nonchalant expression further enhances this illusion. Not to mention, the colors of her outfit contrast with the lighter colors in the foreground. These intricacies produce an elegant photo, and gives it an almost surreal feel. Unlike the Santa Muertephoto essay, I didn’t feel it was totally necessary to read the text below. Instead of he shock factor in the Santa Muerte, there was a “wow” factor in Hayashi’s photo album. I could already sense the difference between a jump photo and a levitation photo, without reading the text underneath


1 Comment

  1. April 26, 2012 at 10:38 pm

    I think it seems surreal too!

    the photos work well alone–as you mention–without text captions.
    quite wonderful, really–


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