Photography by Robert Hutchison
Exhibition of Photographs at Seattle Asian Art Museum, February 2015
This selection of medium-format film photographs were taken during my stay in Japan while on a 2010 Japan/US Fellowship awarded through the Japan/US Friendship Commission and the National Endowment for the Arts. The pairings of the photographs reflect my interest in the relationships between new and old; dark and light; urban and rural; traditional and contemporary. Four years later, what these photographs reveal to me are the many preconceptions that we bring with us to the places that we visit, and how these preconceptions are then altered by our real experience of that very place. Tokyo is always referred to as the “Concrete Jungle”, but I now understand my Tokyo to be very much the opposite of this description.
Almost all of the photographs were taken in the town of Kichijoji, located due west of Shinjuku along the Ueno line. Kichijoji was my home base for the five months that I lived in Japan. I spent the majority of my time in Kichijoji walking the many back streets during the day as well as night. The experience helped to frame my understanding of Tokyo as well as Japan, and remains vivid to me to this day.