Recollection from New York to Tokyo 2008 - 2010
NYC & Tokyo Subway series
In the summer of 2007, after I finished a series of color photographs of subway architecture using a medium format camera, I returned to my 35 mm SRL film camera and began shooting at nearby subway stations again. Then two years later I had the opportunity of going back to my native land and shooting Tokyo subway stations. My shooting approach in both cities was almost the same, casual and spontaneous, as most of my shots were taken from behind passengers, using a 28mm wide-angle lens with fixed aperture and with no flash or tripod.
Unlike pre-war designed, rat-infested New York subway stations, subway architecture in Tokyo is relatively new, clean and well maintained and filled with generally well-mannered passengers. Although the atmosphere of these two cities is so different, I found an undeniable similarity in the images when I developed the exposed negatives. Just like my images taken in NYC subways, illuminated by artificial lighting, Tokyo subway passengers in the photos look meditative, quiet and somehow detached from reality in these supposedly noisy public places. That surreal impression that I discovered in NYC subways also definitely existed even in the modernized Tokyo subways.
In addition I found that Tokyo passengers such as groups of men in dark business suits and especially schoolgirls wearing monotone school uniforms appear quite fascinating. Those uniformed creatures, both the men and the girls that I shot from every angle, blend so well into the Tokyo subway architecture, they seem a natural fixture of the subterranean environment.
I am, of course, hoping to continue my photographic art-making after this project. However, since Kodak recently discontinued their production of color printing paper for manual printing, I have been having a difficult time keeping on with my printmaking in the color dark room. This exhibition may be my last photography show in which all the prints are hand-printed from film negatives. Although I don’t
know which direction my photography will take in the future, I just hope to be able to discover magical moments in the everyday environment, in such places as subway stations which have the unique ability to transform themselves into something totally unexpected and fascinating.