Capturing Wellbeing: Behind the Scenes of the KJ95 Cover Shoot

The talented sisters Reylia and Johnna Slaby, interviewed in our 95th issue, were tasked with creating a stunning cover in a collaborative work of fine art photography and painting that would effectively convey the sense of “wellbeing” we explore in the issue. This project was only the second collaborative work of theirs to date.

Wellbeing: Tranquil and contemplative, or vigorous and joyful? —that was the question.

These images were shot at two separate locations in the countryside of the Kansai region, where the twins grew up and from which they continue to draw artistic inspiration. Here, they unravel the process that led to creating this issue’s special cover image.


 Location One: Omimaiko/Lake Biwa (Shiga Prefecture)

“For the first photo shoot, we wanted to express wellbeing through water and the color blue. We called up a friend who graciously agreed to help us along with the shoot. We rented a car and drove to Omimaiko in Shiga. It took much longer than predicted because we attempted to take only the side roads, but when we arrived at the beach everything was calm.

I guess this was what “wellbeing” was for us then. We experimented with different clothing and props to see how the light would reflect with the water, the various expressions and poses that the model would give us. We slowly built up the paint on acrylic to continually change the scene.”


Location Two: Field close by Heijo-kyo (Nara Prefecture)

“We changed the color scheme a bit to see whether wellbeing could be expressed in a different way. Over a meeting with the art directors at KJ, we discussed that the feeling of wellbeing they wanted to express was not one of complete calm and serenity, but to a certain extent a feeling of liberation. With that, we decided to go for light, flowy tones in the scenery, and fluidity. We asked our friend who is a dancer in the area and throughout the afternoon we were running through the tall grass trying to catch the wind with the fabric.

We gradually added paint to the dancer’s body which naturally transferred to the bright yellow cloth.”


See issue KJ95: Wellbeing

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