New York

Shizuka Yokomizo

Cohan Leslie and Browne

“Dear Stranger”: On its own, the phrase that titles Shizuka Yokomizo’s 1998–2000 series of photographic portraits is heavy with paradox. How can someone be at once dear—precious, beloved—and yet a stranger? The sociologically minded viewer could find reams of data about the subjects in the details of their dwellings, furniture, and dress, but as familiar as the figures can seem, they remain distant, unreachable. Who are these people peering out from the kitchens, living rooms, and home offices that at once shelter and expose them? And why were they chosen?

As it turns out, what they share is nothing more than the fact that they occupy ground-floor apartments (in Berlin, New York, Tokyo, or London, where the Japanese-born photographer now lives) and acceded to the anonymous request they received in the mail: “Dear Stranger, I am an artist working on a photographic project which involves

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