Jacob aue Sobol
Photographs: Jacob aue Sobol
Publisher: Dewi Lewis
Price: 180 €
Comments: Hardcover. Obi as issued. 330 x 240 mm. Black & White photographs. Text in English . Winner of the Leica European publishers award 2008. In great condition. Collectible.
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 which
I had little knowledge of 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
if they had no need of communication. Most mornings I would take the Chuo-
line from Nakano to Shinjuku, 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 a 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 exhibition are a recording of what I saw and the people I met
during the ensuing 18 months.
In my attempt to try to understand Tokyo and its people, I found myself returning
to the same streets and parks again and again. There were certain areas in
Shinjuku and Yoyogi-park that always captured my interest, and inevitably they
became the places that I felt closest to. I think that it was meeting the people
there, on a one to one basis, that helped to give me a better impression of
what it means to be a part of Tokyo today.
Some of those I photographed became my friends, others I shared only a short
moment with. The pictures are something that grew from these meetings
pictures I took out of curiosity, and to help me remember how I felt that day,
my experience of the city. When I photographed I tried to work by instinct as
much as possible so as to connect and involve myself with the places I visited
and the people I met. Taking snapshots supports the feeling of something
unpredictable and playful. I believe it is when pictures are unconsidered and
irrational that they come to life; that they evolve from showing to being.
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