Katherine Longly

Visual artist - Photographer

Art workshops - Cultural mediation & participative projects - Trainings


To tell my real intentions, I want to eat only haze like a hermit.

February 2015 - August 2017


This book project explores the complexity of the relationship we have with food and our body, in the specific context of Japanese culture.

During the exploratory phase of the project, an exhibition entitled Unease in the country of slimness was presented at 3331 ARTS CHIYODA in Tokyo.

As a child, I was overweight.

Our relationship with food is complex and intimately connected to our emotions. It's a privileged witness to our social and familial history. It can also reveal itself as a formidable tool in managing our feelings. And it's fundamentally inseparable from the relationship one has with their own body. Between control and pleasure, my link with food is always occupied by the ghost of a little girl who was a little too round. The image of oneself finds its foundations in childhood—with force and persistence.

I set out to investigate these issues outside of my own experience. Gathering statements in a place far from my own references allowed me to understand my own story, with a necessary step backwards.

Japanese society is fascinating, the target of violent excess but filled with an infinite delicacy. Self-control is a highly prized quality in personal and professional relationships, whether it's restraining vivid emotions or maintaining quasi-absolute control over one's appearance. Moreover, traditional Japanese cuisine—designated as a World Heritage—is praised for its health benefits while, at the same moment, the country is seeing a disruption in its eating habits. In a country that extols women's thinness, the pressure put on the body is huge.

During several residencies in Japan, I interrogated Tokyoites of all sorts of backgrounds on the subject of their relationship with food. For some of them, eating accompanies and reinforces social ties, whether it's within their circle of family and friends or even related to an absent mother. For others, food is a powerful tool of control, allowing one to sculpt their body or to digest their emotions. Whatever it be, eating is never just a technical act.

After hearing their stories, I gave these individuals disposable cameras with the only goal of illustrating this relationship from their point of view.

This book is the fruit of a close collaboration with all the people I met.

I thank them with all my heart for accepting to share their story with me.