I came to Tokyo for the first time in the spring of 2006. My girlfriend Sara had got a job there, and so I decided to move with her to explore the city in which she had grown up. It was a society I had never experienced before, one of which I had little knowledge and to which I had no real sense of relationship.
Initially I felt invisible. Each day I would walk the streets without anyone making eye contact with me. Everyone seemed to be heading somewhere — it was as they had no need of communication. Most mornings I would take the Chuo-line from Nakano to Shinjuko, and even though the train would be packed with salary-men and school girls in uniform, I rarely heard a word being spoken.
Though Tokyo and its people seemed unreachable, I felt drawn to the tight and confined reality of the metropolis. My feeling of isolation and loneliness was overwhelming — it was something I had to find a way to change.
And so I began taking my pocket camera out with me on the streets and in the parks. Rather than focusing on the impressively tall buildings and the eternal swarm of people , I began searching for the narrow paths and the individual human presence in the city that felt both attractive and repulsive at the same time. I wanted to meet the people , to get involved in the city, to make Tokyo mine.
The pictures in this book are a recording of what I saw and the people I met during the following eighteen months.
— Jacob Aue Sobol
by Jacob Aue Sobol
Hardcover: 108 pages
32.5 x 23.4 cm
Publisher: Dewi Lewis
For over two decades, Stephen Shames injected himself into the mean streets of the South Bronx and made pictures about the kind of life that he saw there— unflinching yet intimate, straight-shooting yet sensitive, objectively powerful but also full of personal emotion—this is a beautiful book.
Vibrant and faded; modern and traditional; bright and shaded—urban dwellers pass through their surroundings, unknowingly "completing" beautiful scenes.