A view of Japan
Street photography serie
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Before living for a year in Japan, I didn’t know much about its aesthetics. I imagined Tokyo as an Asian New York : bustling, noisy, fast. I quickly noticed that it was quite the opposite : quiet voices due to cultural etiquette, quiet restaurants because of an absence of metal cutlery, silence in the metro.
There was indeed the flurry of neon lights, a few loudspeakers playing music in some of the tourist streets and the rapid footsteps through the corridors of the metro at rush hour, but all at the same rhythm, without brushing against each other.
And everywhere else : the poetry of the moment, the time taken to sit on a bench and look ahead, the act of taking a picture of a flower at the same time every year. Time is not only slower, it is lived more. It’s seen more.
If Tokyo seemed very calm to me, the smallest towns and countryside felt depopulated. The exodus from rural areas was very present visually with few inhabitants outside.
When I look at all of these photos, it is this serenity and loneliness that comes through the most. Individuals isolated in large ensembles, perfectly positioned in these settings which fascinate those who are foreign to them.
I did not see sadness there, I felt more a sweet melancholy. Decorative elements that have not changed much since the 1980s—Japan’s golden age—are for us our wonderful aesthetic.
The choice to work in vivid colors pays homage to this happy nostalgia.
The photographic series is still in progress and will be featured in an upcoming book and exhibition in 2024. Prints will be available for purchase.
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