Wareware wa doko ni ari, doko ni mukaou to shite iru no ka.
Tokyo is a haven for street photography for locals and tourists alike. Every alleyway tells a bold tale; each train station echoes a distant memory; and every being who traverses the prefecture seemingly bears a transitory character – with its infectious culture and welcome air permeating through the spirit’s fibers – if not for the permanence that photography brings forth.
A new photozine series called Void Tokyo, however, does not stop at permanence; it aims to inject zeal into forlorn souls who have been weighed down by stringently structured routines and the defeatist inclination as a result of such, Tokyo’s residents.
Spearheaded by its publisher Tatsuo Suzuki, together with his co-members Tadashi Onishi, Hiroki Fujitani, Yukari “Unleash” Sasaki, Keiichi Ichikawa, Naoki Iwao, So Sasaki, Kawara Chan, Miho Okawa, Ash Shinya Kawaoto, and Tadashi Yamashita, Void Tokyo’s creators recognize the loneliness that grips the prefecture’s locale. And they intend to use their craft as a vessel for shifting moods and mindsets.
When asked to describe what could possibly be running through the minds Tokyo’s locals, they all share the same sentiment: “Where are we and where are we going?” This is where the collective’s efforts enter the picture.
Dispersed through Tokyo’s swarming wards and cities with their trusty cameras in tow, these spirited lensmen document everyday scenes that portray cheerful interpersonal relations, pleasurable affairs like shopping and leisurely strolls, and picturesque views of the capital and its populace. Their mission: to fill Tokyo’s void, an expanse previously occupied by deep human connection, a buoyant outlook, and the feeling of home.
Fittingly, Void Tokyo comes off as visual metaphors with each image conveying a most endearing bouquet of lines to make up its stanzas. It seamlessly evokes a series of emotions ranging from sheer delight to awe at Tokyo’s peculiar ambience.
Delving further, many of the photographs serve as reminders to the members of Tokyo’s labor force who are too consumed by their rigid schedules and professional agendas. The sphere outside an office’s icy bounds is warm and invigorating as pictured in the photozine. Sometimes we just have to pause for a bit, breathe, and imbibe our surroundings’ most agreeable details to feel alive.
Void Tokyo’s lensmen aren’t too different; they surveyed their respective areas and found the ideal perspectives in both life and their prospective photographs prior to optimistically pushing their trigger finger. All it took was one push, or in this case: press, to fill a void.
The result, by far, is a powerful mishmash of poetic photographs that somehow fills what’s constantly missing, a stirring conglomerate of recent imageries that somehow restrings what’s quickly fading, a masterful documentation of present Tokyo that, hopefully someday, would linger as it was when the 2020 Olympics devours the region.
But how exactly would these photographers unmask its emptiness? And when would they rediscover its light, really? They have yet to find for themselves. This is just their prologue.
Void Tokyo’s first issue was released in May 2017 and all 300 copies was sold out in just three weeks. Only a few copies made it to actual bookstores because most of them were purchased online. With the staggering success of their initial outing as a collective, the group is working on their second issue with new features, which will be launched in August 2017.