Nihon Noir arose from my fascination with Tokyo and my desire to translate the feeling that struck me on my first visit, that somehow you have been transported to a parallel future where everything is more alien than familiar. Pronounced Nee-Honn, the word simply means “Japan” as a nation and together with Noir creates a play on the Neon Noir genre of film that inspired the aesthetic of the series, particularly the seminal classic Blade Runner and the later work of Nicholas Winding-Refn (Drive, Only God Forgives).
As a starting point the series follows the work of Kenzo Tange, Japan’s Pritzker Prize winning architect and his Disciples of the Metabolist movement of postwar modernist architecture. I selected a core list of buildings that embodied the Metabolist philosophy which attempted to combine the creation of brutalist megastructures with the principles of organic growth. Beyond the core interest of the metabolist movement i also tracked buildings created during the post-modern era of the 1990’s as well as tighter street vistas that spoke to me and embodied the cyberpunk feeling of Tokyo.
Shooting by night and devoid of people the images are intended to ask more questions than they could ever answer.
Each building required hours of exploration to find the perfect vantage point whether it be from a rooftop, stairwell or road workers crane lift I commandeered to capture the Nagakin from an otherwise impossible perspective. Though these buildings are from the past (most from 1970-1999) they appear as if they have appeared from the distant future. My intention is for the viewer to ask not “where” they were taken but “when”.