The flash photography of Satoki Nagata put me in my mind of the wonderful series ‘Heads’ created by Philip Lorca diCorcia in the early 2000’s.
These were created using a powerful strobe light placed on a scaffold in Times Square. diCorcia then activated the strobe using a radio signal and captured his subjects in a flash of light from over 20 feet away. My first thought on hearing of this method was to wonder how people reacted to a burst of powerful light on their faces. Yet it turns out that even though the figures seem to emerge from darkness, these pictures were actually taken during daylight hours.
Consequently, the subjects were totally unaware that they had been captured for posterity.
Indeed in 2006, Lorca diCorcia was sued by one of his unwitting subjects for profiting from using his image but as everyone who’s ever indulged in street photography knows, it’s impossible to make photographs like these if the subject is aware of the photographers presence.
Interestingly, Nagata got to know his subjects so his images are taken with their consent.
Whatever the rights and wrongs of taking street images, what we can say with conviction is that Lorca diCorcia’s pictures give people an angelic beauty that reminds me of religious paintings as much as work of other photographers.