Inspired by a poem by American poet Win Harms, which is based on her personal experiences with men, Ishibashi started tweaking found images and replaced them with what he calls an ‘average’ image entirely. “From the first moment I read her poem, the image of the man portrayed in it became very vivid,” says Ishibashi. “Our collaboration for Connotations was to turn images into artwork to be consumed in the mass media by means of her personal language.”
When I saw hundreds of parakeets swarming the sky, I was struck by fear. I felt as if I’d walked into the Alfred Hitchcock film The Birds. Every morning, flocks of several parakeets each would fly to the elm tree near my home in Tokyo’s Setagaya Ward. I watched these flocks arrive daily. Eventually, more and more flocks showed until finally, this strange scene of hundreds of parakeets appeared.
The parakeets had overly bright, lime green wings. These tropical birds were incongruous with the Tokyo environment and I found their appearance disturbing.
I did some research and found out that these parakeets were brought to Japan in the 1960s and 1970s from tropical regions in India and Sri Lanka to be sold as pets. They had since gone wild and made Tokyo their home. Today, they’ve multiplied to thousands.
Shocked by my encounter of the parakeets, I chased them for about a year afterwards. They broke up into groups and flew back to their respective nests. I discovered that the biggest nest was in a ginkgo tree on the Tokyo institute of Technology campus in Okayama, Meguro Ward. I used strobes to photograph the parakeets in the evenings, when they went home.
These parakeets aren’t supposed to exist in Tokyo, but they do. And it’s the intensely uncanny feeling I felt when I first saw the swarm, which I’ve captured in these photographs.
For Colors, Yoshinori Mizutani’s second series of work, he captures everyday scenes, which are nevertheless curious or strange, in vibrantly coloured and graphically composed photographs. He shot these images, focusing on colour and forms, and posted on Tumblr daily over four years. Yoshinori’s style of intently focusing on the surface of his subjects brings various signs of contemporary society to light.
Kosuke belongs to a group of young Japanese photographers that has created a new wave of black and white photography as their photographic vision in a digital environment. He produces his work through entirely analogue methods and cites the avant-garde artist Man Ray as a definite influence on his photography. It is significant that, for him, this is neither a challenge nor a burden, nor indeed an alignment with the Modernist heritage of 20th century photography. It is, instead, a statement of curiosity, as well as an insight into the way a young artist is sampling from the history of photography in order to create work for their own time.
As an homage (and a tribute) to film director Michael Haneke who directed a film of the same title, Code Unknown, Satoshi boarded a train in Berlin with his camera and photographed strangers from 6am to 8pm for several months, just like the photographer character in Haneke’s film, who takes candid photographs of passengers sitting in front of him on a train. Each photo is then edited to the point where the identity of his subjects cannot be known. “In real society, I cannot publish those photographs. Therefore, I photographed by aiming where each ‘model’ cannot be identified individually. I attempted to erase each of their identifications and individualities by trimming the clothes they were wearing from the screen.”