"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.