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Photographer Motoyuki Daifu's Lost Lover

For Valentine's Day, photographer Motoyuki tells us about the lost relationship that spawned his beautiful photo series "Lovesody."

All photos by Motoyuki Daifu

Photographer Motoyuki Daifu fell deeply in in love when he first laid his eyes on the pregnant single mother of a two-year-old, who would ultimately become the subject of his beautiful series, Lovesody. People avoid lovers like her, who have inconvenient baggage, like the plague. But for Daifu it was rather simple and naïve from the start. And the ending? At least he'll always have the beautiful photographs. Lovesody is an honest documentation of their short-lived but intimate relationship, and their mundane Tokyo lives behind doors.


VICE: Did you know your lady was pregnant and a single mom when you first met? And what is her name?
Motoyuki: If you don't mind, I would like to keep her name anonymous for her own privacy.. She had a pregnant belly when I met her for the first time at my workplace. We were coworkers, and I thought she was very cute! I think there are a good number of single moms in my generation now, so it's not as uncommon as it used to be.

In Lovesody, your lady seems docile, how did she react to you constantly taking photographs of her and her children?
She didn't mind. My photography and art means very little in her life. It was more important for her to live and be with her kids, she had a great inner fortitude, which was one of the reasons I fell in love with her.

How did your relationship continue? And how do you still feel about her? 
We both loved each other during the 6 months that we were together, and it's really the same as anybody else loving another person. After breaking up I still wish them happiness and all the best.

How does she feel about your book Lovesody now that you are no longer together?
No comment on that.

Okay, so can you tell us more about the title Lovesody and what does it mean to you?
It's a coined word I came up with… In my mind, the words 'Love' and 'Rhapsody' combined means: a free form of love.

What's your favorite picture of this series and why?
This is my favorite photo. She looks extremely relaxed, but for me it's a very vibrant portrait of her.


Your past work is a series about a large family living in a small Tokyo apartment. It's about your family, right?
Right, I like photos that require me to step into the life of the subject, so I often shoot inside someone's house, in this case my own apartment. Hence, I wasn't at all conscious about having to separate myself from the subject matter.

You had your first solo show in New York last month, how did people react to your work?
It got picked up by The New Yorker and W Magazine. Their feedback was positive, so I felt like the show had a pretty good response. I wanted to get feedback from each person during the opening, but I never got around to it. I think people are generally interested in chaotic Japanese life.

Who is your favorite artist or photographer?
I really respect Juergen Teller. I think he's a new kind of documentary photographer. Documenting could often feel heavy through photography or video, but I think Teller is the only photographer for me who captures reality so lightly, and I know that is not easy to accomplish. His unique ideas never cease to surprise me.

That's interesting because some people say that Lovesody resembles the aesthetics of Juergen Teller, what do you think?
I feel very happy about it!

I offered you a joint the other night when we met in NY, and it was your first try ever. Did you like it?!
Haha, I felt light-headed and spaced out, it was interesting!

It's Valentine's Day today, what does the word LOVE mean to you?
"There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved." –George Sand

That's beautiful! Thank you Daifu, let's meet again soon!

Lovesody was recently published by .

Thanks Ryu Takahashi for the translation