We recently talked to Casper Kent about his series of photographs taken during his travels to Tokyo, Japan over a six-year period.
Casper Kent grew up in Manchester, England. He graduated in Fine Art. He has visited Japan several times during the past six years. During these trips, he documented his adventures in photographs and collected them into a series of intriguing books.
"I’ve been visiting Japan several times a year for the past six years now - so it felt like a good time to start gathering a some of my diary stuff into a collection. I think photographs are best enjoyed in printed form, there’s an extra dimension to a book you can thumb through and absorb the full story rather than scrolling through individual images or bulk uploads online and mentally discarding them immediately. Maybe I’m too romantic, but there’s no love in that."
When asked what message he wanted to convey in his series of photographs, Casper said that he takes photographs to document and appreciate the small beauties present in everyday life. He believes Japan is a country that most people try to stereotype and reduce its complex and elaborate culture into a sort of meme. He wants to show through his photographs that Japan is far more nuanced and complex than what is portrayed in popular culture. Although as a foreigner, he is not trying to make an elaborate commentary about contemporary Japan, rather, he wants to share his own perception of Japan as seen through his gaze.
"I just take these photographs to document and appreciate the small beauties all around in everyday life. That said, I think Japan more so than most, is a place that many people persist in trying to stereotype and reduce to some sort of meme – but of course, that’s their ignorance, Japan is far more nuanced and complex than that, it’s full of duality and that’s beautiful. As an outsider, I’m not trying to say anything about contemporary Japan, I’m simply sharing my Tokyo."
When asked what made him opt to shoot his photographs using film, this is what Casper has to say:
"In terms of diary work, shooting with film allows you to capture a moment while still experiencing and enjoying it. Once you’ve taken the shot, that’s it until it’s developed – there’s no distraction or opportunity to get caught up in reviewing it on the spot, taking the same shot over and over, obsessing with ‘perfection’ like with digital or phone cameras. The subjects and things I shoot aren’t perfect – so I don’t want my images to be either, they are just visual interpretations of a moment, not a sanitized render. The benefit of just 36 exposures in your camera is giving value to every shot and therefore every moment. The contents of the book are shot over a 4-year period, so I worked my way through a number of compacts, but the majority is shot on an Olympus Mju-II and a Ricoh GR1s, I always have those two. What you shoot with really doesn’t matter though, some of the most exciting photographers I’ve ever seen are shooting with cheap toy cameras, and on the flip side, many of those kit guys long lensing people with thousands of pounds worth of gear are dull."
Alongside "Tokyo Diary", there is another book called "Sakura Lust", which is a monograph shot in love hotels and ryokans over three seasons. The work from that will book will also be a part of an exhibition in Japan later this year.