Shinya Arimoto - Tokyo Circulation

November 15, 2018

Shinya Arimoto

One of my favorite book. The book is huge and it is protected with a cover that make it even more impressive. But the good thing, apart being a beautiful object, is that the photos are huge also; so it deserves the medium format of the cameras that Arimoto have used (Rolleiflex 2.8F but mostly with an Hasselblad 903SWC) that are square 6x6 cameras.

Tokyo Circulation

Shinya Arimoto is bringing us into the wildlife of Shinjuku in Tokyo, most of the shots are day time; sometimes used with a flash. We can observe different type of people; but totally not the usual salaryman… One of my favorite is the one done in a back alley; the guy is covered with tattoos all over his body and he’s smoking a cigarette.

Of course, in this area, there are a lot of beggars; seems one got his attention, as we can see him in several shots through the book; by the way it took him 10 years to gather the images he wanted to make it; so it is interesting and scary to see that this man is still in a terrible situation year after year; maybe it is a choice, yes a choice.

Through another exhibition in the Totem Pole Gallery (owned by Shynia Arimoto) in Tokyo, I met another photographer, that was telling me that the beggars that he was tooking in pictures, were in this situation as they wanted to be… so maybe in the case of Arimoto it is the same…

The book seems to be splitted into 2 section; not sure what is the difference among the two (that may be a question I should address to Arimoto together with the one on the beggars) and I prefer the first part; as I found the portraits more interesting while the second part is also good but not as equal with the first one in my humble opinion.

The photo all put together make a great atmosphere. You can feel the wildlife of Shinjuku with his powerful portraits with some interesting b-cut that make the reader breathing a bit; through looking at all the book's pictures. The title comes from his statement that Tokyo has a kind of circulation of air, mood, but mostly people; in what he call interact in an ecosystem « with a magnificent circulation ».

I am looking forward for his new work. From the few pictures I could find here and there, seems that we are going to have a promising second book; hope we will not have to wait 10 years to see the 2nd volume of his work in Shinjuku.