Stretching back to the late 1830s, the nude is one of photography’s earliest genres. Yet despite its longevity, it has evolved little over time, remaining governed by three central tenets: the drama of black and white is preferred to more naturalistic color; it is primarily the female body that is depicted; and finally, whether the body is male or female, the nude photograph is almost always made by and for the male gaze.
With (ca.ra.ma.ru), one of his earliest bodies of work, Takano Ryudai took a first step onto a well-trodden and often overly narrow path. Photographed in multiple sittings—or rather performances for the camera—over the course of three years, the series began from a simple premise: an invitation by the photographer to a group of Butoh dancers to embody karamaru (to be entangled). He provided no further indications or instructions, allowing them to find their own way into this idea.