AGGRESSIVE GIRLS | ARTIST STATEMENT
When I came to New York to pursue my interest in photography, it became my habit to go out every night and prowl the streets. At night, everything dissolves into darkness and shadow but, as I walk, I began to see figures and faces under the streetlights and neon signs, like a spotlight in a theater, seeing the transition of invisible to visible. I am fascinated by the sense of risk, desire, and uneasiness the night carries, like I am on a dark adventure, returning with pictures of unpredictable encounters. Throughout this adventure I have met many people who live beyond the pale – the former pit-fighting champion in Chinatown, the prostitute whom I shared coffee with in a diner near Penn Station at dawn. My experiences have been both frightening and thrilling. The stories I’ve heard have been enthralling. I dispelled my own feelings of alienation and loneliness by connecting with these fellow night-dwellers.
At the start of this project, I was walking the nearly deserted streets of the West Village close to dawn. I saw a lone figure standing under a streetlight. He was dressed like a thug and showing a tough, harsh attitude but also expressing a mixture of loneliness and dignity that I see mostly in females. I was astonished by the strangeness of this aura. I continued wandering, but thought about meeting and photographing this person in order to examine my fascination. I returned to the same place the next night, hoping our paths might cross. Instead, I found a number of similarly anomalous and intriguing people.
Eventually, I learned that the strangers I’d seen were women. I was introduced to a new cultural movement in the gay female community, Aggressive Girls. Although most of the women I met dislike men, they emulate the male dominated hip-hop culture as a means of empowerment. They put up a wall to protect their community and the identity by employing masculinity and aggression. They act tough and sexually assertive. They are united in their culture.
In this work, I dedicate myself to conveying the sensation, the atmosphere, and the spirits of this sub-culture. This is not a story-telling project, but an accumulation of various significances within this group that have allowed me to recognize my own masculinity and aggression, which is a large part of my identity as a Japanese man. Aggressive Girls declare and celebrate their existence inside the frames of my photographs, and I hope this will push the viewer to experience the many confrontations in the lives Aggressive Girls and within themselves.