"Love Fantasy with John Lennon and Yoko Ono" © 1980 Kishin Shinoyama

A photograph becomes a piece of the past the moment it is shot. One could describe them as devices that capture the death of time. But even a photographer can’t help but feel unsettled when this becomes reality so suddenly.

John Lennon’s death was precisely that. I was shooting on location in Los Angeles when Yoko Ono called me from New York, asking me to go over there to photograph the cover art of the new album that she and John were working on.

I arrived at New York two days later, and met John for the first time as he was recording in the studio. He was surprisingly mild-mannered, and there was a gentle smile to the eyes that lurked behind those round glasses.

As John sang, Yoko sat in the control room and provided feedback. And so the creative process, as the two were bound closely together by a mutual sense of trust, went on. We’d lost track of time. With no windows in the room we didn’t know what it was like outside, but most likely it was already late in the afternoon. A young boy came into the room protected by a giant bodyguard – John’s son Sean. John and Yoko played for him a song that had literally just been recorded, “Beautiful Boy.” Sean hugged his father, as Yoko watched on. The three were bound together by love.

The photo that would become the cover art of “Double Fantasy” was taken in Central Park, right in front of their home at the Dakota House. There were only a few people around as John and Yoko sat on a bench by the pond in the autumn sunset, and I asked them to kiss each other.

Three months later just as the album was finished, John was gunned down. I shot the photo in color, but for some reason, the actual cover art was released in black and white.

Kishin Shinoyama

In 1980, 30 years ago, John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s legendary Grammy Award winning album “Double Fantasy” was released.

The album cover was filmed in New York’s Central Park by photographer Kishin Shinoyama.

30 years later, Yoko Ono and Kishin Shinoyama meet again in Central Park for their first photo session since Double Fantasy.

In the Audi Forum Tokyo, from December 4 (Saturday) to May 1 (Wednesday) is an exhibition of the world premiere of these precious, treasured photos along with those from 30 years ago.

Yoko Ono’s participatory artwork “Wish Tree” is also on display.

Audi Forum Tokyo
6-12-18 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
April 12, 2010 (Sat.) – January 5, 2011 (Wed)
10:00 to 20:00
Tel: 03-5464-7200

2 minute walk from Tokyo Metro Chiyoda Line, Fukutoshin “Meiji-Jingumae”.

5 minute walk from JR Yamanote Line Station, Exit 7 “Harajuku”.

※ Parking is not available. Please use the nearby parking lot.

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25 Responses to Kishin Shinoyama “Love Fantasy with John Lennon and Yoko Ono”

  1. Wan says:

    such a great true love and memories!!!

    You are my inspiration.

    Peace out

    Love you & John Lennon

  2. Gene Rubio says:

    A great photo is usually captivated by the moment. That very moment can be enjoyed and felt by viewers for years to come. I am a photographer and my best photos have usually been taken unplanned and being at the right place at the the right time.

    Yoko, that photo of you and John will always be heart warming, a true icon for love and peace.

    ♥Love In
    ☮Peace Out ✌

  3. Emilce says:

    Double Fantasy: Me identifica…No solo a mí sino a varias generaciones,gracias por tanto amor John y Yoko.Con amor,Emilce,Argentina.

  4. Emilce says:

    Eres hermosa mujer,eres los mas parecido a un ángel.John vive en ti…Los amo…Desde Argentina,por favor visita nuestro país algún día,estaremos encantados de recibirte,recibir a la mujer que John tanto amó.Con mucho amor…Emilce.

  5. A Legend was born,of the past and he present. A Tribute to John Lennon and Yoko Ono. We all love you.

  6. Mark Fisher says:

    When my old friend Robert heard that Lennon was shot he cut out a photo of John from a newspaper, printed the word IMAGINE over the image and left the paper pinned to his shirt for the rest of the day.


  7. Dean Monaghan says:

    I remember the day he was shot. A teacher came into the class room with his Irish Times Newspaper with the Legend John Lennon name on the front page. He simply said ”a great Man has died today in New York” I aged 9 years old.His film Imagine is brilliant and who can forget the Beatles hits from
    Yesterday/hey Jude/long and winding road that leaves to your
    door/woman/imagine the list could go on and on. Rest in peace
    John Dean

  8. Scott Pilgrim says:

    Were so sad about the way we live without John Lennon, master of the inspiration and leader of the worldwide music, were proud of his job and sensible of his leave.

  9. Piter U. Caizer says:

    John & Yoko are the true embodiment of Divine Twin Flames, the eternal Reflection of two spiritual Halves becoming One in the flesh world, to light the
    way forward into the Age of Aquarius : Find Ur one & only true better Half !!

  10. Danny Rodriguez says:

    I’ve loved these photos of John and Yoko ever since I discovered the Double Fantasy album at 13 years of age while going through my mother’s LPs.

  11. Tiago "and if...Lennon" says:

    30 years without my master and any musician that I value … John Lennon! “YOU MAY say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one …”

  12. Eleanor says:

    Yoko…I always knew you and John were body, mind and soul mates. Even when some questioned his choice I was there supporting you both. I think those ‘nay-sayers’ now know the real meaning of true love and commitment. Your minds were always in sync with thoughts advanced beyond your years. I miss John and will remember him for his abundance of love for humanity and his heartfelt lyrics – he shared his life with us through his music. He will ‘shine on’ forever.

  13. Bia says:

    There is no couple in the world like you. The most beautiful love story you ever saw. The couple symbol of pure and sincere love. Something never existed fellow in the world. I love them.

  14. Emilce says:

    Queridos John Y Yoko: Nunca vi un amor tan grande como el amor de ustedes.Ese beso llena mi alma y mi vacío corazón …Los años pasan y ese amor aun sigue creciendo.En ti,Yoko, veo a John…John vive en ti.Contigo siento cerca a John,escuchando su música siento a John.Los años pasan y tu,mi querida Yoko,sigues siendo hermosa…Espero que algún día vengas a Argentina,ese día sentiré mas cerca a John.
    John Lennon live!.I Love You…Emilce Argentina(Its Only Love)

  15. Dave Lee says:

    Dear Yoko,

    Thank you so much for sharing these special photographs of you and John. Double Fantasy is such a powerful album, and I especially appreciate your efforts to remix it to feature John’s beautiful voice more. And most of all, Sean’s beautiful sketch of the album cover! I can’t decide which one I like better, the photo or his sketch! All the best to you, dear Yoko. I married a Japanese girl also born on February 18th, and I often wonder if some of her traits are also some of yours. I am a very lucky man that she married me. John was also very lucky you married him. Peace to you! -Dave

  16. Heather says:

    John and Yoko are THE love story of our time. John was the first true voice for honesty, for peace and for optimism. His star, his brilliance, shone most brightly through his love and artistic collaboration with Yoko. Thank you Yoko for your tireless work to honour John’s memory. Thank you for the positive energy you continue to send to us all. I will be lighting a candle for John tomorrow. His light is forever.

  17. iamthewalrusx says:

    Dear Yoko: The relationship you had with your wonderful husband John is the definition of true love. I’ve yet to see such a true , meant to be, couple such as the two of you. Over the years it’s been undoubtedly difficult dealing with the loss of John, but i admire your immense strength. Through it all you have pulled through and continued to spread John’s message of love & peace. Today your husband is smiling down on you, he’s truly proud of all your accomplishments, and the way you’ve raised your beautiful son. God bless you and always remember that love resides in your heart, forever.

  18. Norman rudy says:

    Dear John and Yoko: “A kiss is worth a thousand words” The years have left us a void , that has been filled by Yoko and her family! Thank You for helping everyone get through all the years we had lost with John! I will be able to see the photo’s when they come to the U.S., surely will make it a point! LOVE you guys…..

  19. Ola Bog says:

    B-) B-)

    double fantasy forever

  20. wilma says:

    it’s a nice foto

  21. Lauri Stolworthy says:

    Please, Bring it to New York!

    Peace and Love

    The World has been missing John since that dreadful moment…

  22. Isse_ says:

    how sweeet! kainggit!

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