Dear Stranger, I am an artist working on a photographic project which involves people I do not know. I would like to take a photograph of you standing in your front room from the street in the evening. A camera will be set outside the window on the street. If you do not mind being photographed, please stand in the room and look into the camera through the window for 10 minutes on __-__-__ (date and time)…I will take your picture and then leave…we will remain strangers to each other…If you do not want to get involved, please simply draw your curtains to show your refusal. I really hope to see you from the window.
Shizuka Yokomizo is the author of this letter. She is a Japanese photographer born in Tokyo in 1966 who currently lives and works in London. From the positive responses to this message shots collected in the project “Strangers” were born: photographs taken from 1998 to 2000 in Berlin, Tokyo, New York and London as metaphors of modern human relationships and as symbols of the distance between each of us. The author chose who, what and where to take these pictures simply considering the availability of a window on the ground floor of the house. The decision to respond to this bizarre request, that doesn’t reveal a clue about the purpose and the recipients of the image, is a metaphor for the confidence that each of us feels toward the others. The force of this idea is a new relationship which is established between the photographer and the subject: there is no type of bond, report, contact between the two of them. The acceptance of this “authorized privacy violation” also highlights how nowadays our intimacy and privacy are no longer necessary conditions.