YAKUZA | Head On Photo Festival


Anton Kuster

The Muse, TAFE Sydney Institute

Exhibition Dates:

18 May 2013 to 22 June 2013

Exhibition Description

A Yakuza family enters a hotel bar in Niigata. My brother and I have negotiated with them for ten months, and we have been granted permission for me to follow and photograph them for two years.

As they walk in, I watch the extremely subtle social interactions: the micro-expressions on the faces,the gestures, the voices and intonations, the body language, the absolute respect.
The criminal element. As customers silently leave the bar to make room for the Godfather to have a coffee, everything appears to be strictly organized, yet at the same time completely natural: for some reason I don’t need anyone to tell me what to do, where to sit, when to talk or when to shut up. It’s like I can feel the boundaries and the implicit expectations.

It’s hard. It’s scary. I’m slowly learning, little by little trying to understand this Japanese way.
But it feels like I’ll never fully comprehend.

Sitting at the table with a bodyguard looking straight through me, I drink my iced coffee.
I switch on my camera. It has begun.

I can feel the acute sensation of walking on eggshells.

Anton Kusters

Exhibition Space

Dates and Times

18 May 2013 to 22 June 2013

Open Hours