Lens turned on high art

Updated: 2011-03-25 08:12

By Xu Lin (China Daily)

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Natsumi Hayashi never thought her online photos would create such a stir that it would make her an overnight celebrity.

Dubbed "Tokyo's levitating girl", the photos show her suspended in mid-air in various settings, including a crowded road and a subway station.

Lens turned on high art

Although she has been taking such photos for two years and posting them on her blog,, it's only since December that she has been updating them every day. And that has certainly caught the attention of netizens.

She says she was inspired by the English idiom "to have one's feet firmly planted on the ground", which is used to refer to someone who is practical.

"There is a similar idiom in Japanese, too. But since I am not at all a practical person, I try 'not to have my feet firmly on the ground' to show my true self," she says.

She hopes her photos will ease people's anxiety.

She also writes on her blog that, "My two cats and I are quite well after the earthquake. I want to thank all those praying for Japanese suffering from the recent quake disaster".

Her pictures have become the talk of the Chinese Internet and spawned a string of imitators, such as Yang Xu, 34, who posted his "levitation" photos on popular SNS websites Sina Weibo and in early March.

"My friends insisted the Tokyo girl's pictures were just Photoshop productions and refused to accept that they were the result of a simple shooting technique," Yang says.

To convince them, he headed to Beijing's Qianmen with three other photography fans.

"The trick is really quite simple. The instant one jumps, the photographer uses a SLR camera to continuously shoot. All one needs to do then is to choose the ones that show the subjects appear to be suspended in mid-air," he says.

They even persuaded several security guards and construction workers to join in. "It's just for fun. 'Levitation' photos are not new, and our pictures are only an attempt to portray city life," he says.

Cong Lin, a 24-year-old who works in a logistics company, is another Internet celebrity of such photos.

"My friend and I loved the Tokyo girl's photos, so we prepared some props and went to Ditan Park on a weekend," she says.

"We had to experiment several times to figure out just how high to jump to get that perfect shot," she says, adding she was exhausted after all the jumping they did after half a day's shooting.

More netizens are following suit.

"I am also planning to take such pictures. It feels like a work of art," says Zhang Jingsi, 26, a photography fan.


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