Nathalie Daoust - Tokio Hotel Story
Nathalie Daoust’s latest project, Tokyo Hotel Story, continues her exploration of female sexuality and subversion of gender stereotypes. Spending several months in the Alpha In, one of the biggest S&M “love hotels” in Japan. Daoust photographed 39 women in their private rooms, surrounded by the specialist equipment and dressed in the regalia that helps define their trade.
“In this series I have documented women of all ages in the role of Dominatrix. I aim to give a different insight into the woman as a dominating being, which conflicts with the Japanese image of femininity, where women have become more passive beauties.”
Daoust believes that numerous challenges still exist in terms of confronting deep-rooted stereotypes of gender-roles, not only in Japan but in the world. Her work helps her to delve beyond taboos while showing the universal human desire to escape reality and create fantasy worlds that often oscillate between dream, reality and perversion.
Context and environment are so important to Daoust that she photographed the 26 empty rooms in 3D anaglyph to “give the viewer the feeling of being there.” Her developing and processing technique are equally significant. There’s no digital trickery at work here - all images are shot on analogue film and hand printed in a darkroom, allowing her to manipulate the negatives more closely to the images she “felt and saw” in her mind’s eye at the time of shooting.
The result is a series of photographs that underline Daoust’s passion for the surreal and the sensual, and which shine a light into the darker shadows not only of femininity but human sexuality in general.