Thursday, 8 July 2010

Tokyo Autumn

Araki Nobuyoshi is a Japanese photographer largely known for his erotic photography, although he has produced many books of photo-journalism. His book Tokyo Autumn, or Tokyo Fall, published in 1992 by Chikuma Shobo is a collection of observations and images he and his wife took as they wandered through Tokyo's suburbs. Many of the pictures are of places not usually seen in photographs of Tokyo, here you see demolition sites, garages, shop fronts of stores closed long ago, deserted streets and alleys, street corners. The photographs give a feeling of the passing of time, as if these buildings are intruding from an age alien to us, and they act as a reminder of the collapse of history, things not lasting forever, the photographs included in this book were taken originally in 1972, but recompiled for this book. When I see an old building that has been restored I usually get no impression of it's age, it's surface belies it's real identity, it's become in a way a manicured replica of the original. This book reminds me that time, once passed, is irretrievable. Also there are a few shots of people, a paint sprayer sits after preparing a car to paint, in another, a body builder holds a pose for the camera, and next to a crowd eating under the cherry blossom, a man asleep, corpse like, is lying under some blankets.
Just as the passing of time slips our control, there's a shot here of a tree's roots breaking through a wall and over-spilling onto the pavement, reminding us that although the appearance of nature in cities is controlled, this picture gives a glimpse that nature is always not to faraway to take back what man has temporarily built upon. I'm not too sure as the availability of this book, but here's some links.

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