A sense of emptiness had overwhelmed my late teenage and early twenties.
I was depressed, lost vitality and kept distance from all my friends because of the death of my mother and a lingering illness I had suffered for years. The motivation of this photographic project is to rediscover what I missed in my adolescence by looking into the youth of the present day.
So, it is important for me to reach out to the experiences of my subjects. “Tokyo Attribute” is a series of portraits of young strangers whom I encounter on Omotesandō Avenue in Tokyo`s Shibuya district.
The avenue, which was once devastated in an air raid in 1940s, has evolved into the epicenter of fashion trends since the lifestyles of U.S. military personnel in the adjacent area brought American culture to the avenue during the Allied postwar occupation.
The fashion of their outfits mirror their grass-roots culture, and the fashion themselves traverse the history.
In the Edo period (1600s – 1860s), Japan was culturally and industrially isolated from the outside world due to the severe restrictions imposed on the foreign trade and the entry into Japan, but at the same time, the people were dedicated to preserving and nurturing their unique aesthetics and the tradition in the domestic products because of these restrictions.
In this project, the photographs convey the nature of the modern Japanese people by highlighting Japanese street fashion as their visual statement, how the humanity shifts or survives over long periods of time such as the Edo period, and how the indigenous ethnicity resides in the different appearances and mentalities in the modern society.
– Hiroki Nakashima –