The Tokyo Girl Who Defies Gravity

edwardquilo - June 26, 2011 11:38AM in Digital Photography/Video

Natsumi Hayashi works as a photographer's assistant and probably spends her day the same as the rest of us gravity-bound earthlings. But once an impromptu burst of inspiration strikes the 20-something Tokyo native, she can't seem to keep her feet on the ground. And so Hayashi takes pictures of herself as she travels around the city. Looking at her photographs, it's easy to see why her amusingly peculiar self-portraits have created a healthy stir of interest from all over the world. What makes all of Hayashi's outdoor pictures so remarkable is that she appears to levitate without warning. To be more specific, she manages this illusion by jumping. Many times. "Sometimes I need to jump more than 300 times to get the perfect shot," she says. 

Granted, levitating pictures aren't anything new, but Hayashi's flights of fancy have a ballet-like beauty to it, and she has a wonderful habit of including strangers into her shots with dramatic effect. Take, for example, a picture of a dead-pan Hayashi floating amidst a chaotic Tokyo train station rush hour: while people make their way along a crowded flight of stairs, she just takes a leap, not minding any of the bewildered looks from the commuters. You can almost imagine what these people must think of this strange jumping woman. There's even a surreal quality to some of her photographs where she's being deliberately ignored by passers-by, like they're used to seeing someone jump in public for no apparent reason. Drop by Hayashi's website and see for yourself why she doesn't need wings to fly.