invisible cities

 

Arriving at each new city, the traveler finds again a past of his that he did not know he had: the foreignness of what you no longer are or no longer possess lies in wait for you in foreign, unprocessed places.”

This collection of  photographs from Tokyo and Shanghai, are part of a larger project inspired by Italo Calvino's "Invisible City."

Tokyo, which has been my temporary home for the past four years, more than any other place I had ever lived in, appeared very foreign and unprocessed at first. Unprocessed and unpossessed.. Difficult to comprehend.  And difficult to photograph. In fact, for a long time, I did not even feel like photographing Tokyo. 

In the end, it was the light -- flickering, diffused, fractured, elusive that inspired me to photograph -- that made me want to capture, or maybe arrest this floating world. It was the subtle light of Tokyo that gives texture to all things short-lived and fleeting, the light which helps you embrace the Japanese sensibility of mono-no-aware -- finding beauty in sadness and impermanence. 

In the words of Calvino:

„With cities, it is as with dreams: everything imaginable can be dreamed, but even the most unexpected dream is a rebus that conceals a desire or, its reverse, a fear. […] Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules are absurd, their perspective deceitful, and everything conceals something else”

My work, which extends from documentary and cultural to fine art photography, is usually an attempt to shed some light on, or decipher, what cannot be easily comprehended or articulated. I am often attracted to what is secret and concealed.

In the “Invisible Cities” series I am focusing on dreams and fears hidden amid the alleys, streets and squares of cities to which I have some emotional connection. I am looking at dazzling lights, soaring buildings, ancient temples and markets – centuries of human ingenuity and ambition. But I am also searching for intimate moments: subtle shadows, anxieties, sorrows and longings. It’s that tension that I find enchanting: fragility of human existence juxtaposed with strength, ambition and patience. And a sense of wonder.

„Cities also believe they are the work of the mind, of chance, but neither the one nor the other suffices to hold up their walls. You take delight not in a city’s seven or seventy wonders, but in the answer it gives to a question of yours.”