‘I felt like I had seen the future’: capturing Japan’s megacities

With his moody night-time shots of urban environments, New Zealand-born photographer Cody Ellingham tries to tap into the current of a city, to travel forward into its future or retreat into the past.

Ellingham, a creative based in Tokyo, came to photography while travelling through northern Japan shortly after it was devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Volunteering in the town of Otsuchi-Cho in Iwate, he was moved to capture on camera the foundations of buildings and towns that had been exposed in the disaster and streets that no longer existed. Shooting with a Sony a7RII camera fitted with specialist architectural lenses, he began sharing his work on Instagram as @cbje_tokyo in earnest in 2016.

Since then, Ellingham has moved to exploring other facets of the urban experience, including Japanese public housing in his series Danchi Dreams and the night-time neon lights of some of the world’s high-tech megacities in Derive. He finds his subject matters by exploring places on foot and without a map, aiming to flow through a city by following streets and paths that catch his attention.

Sometimes, he says, this can take you back in time, to a supposedly haunted skyscraper built on the grounds of Sugamo prison – or the historical heart of Tokyo, Nihombashi. “Even in a megacity like Shanghai or Tokyo, where everything is constantly changing, if you look hard enough you can find the ‘old city’ from 80 years or 100 years before. It has not disappeared – it has simply changed form.”

His favourite city to shoot so far is Shanghai, he says, with the skyscrapers, infrastructure, art and culture combining to create an inspiring vision of the world to come. “I only spent four days there, but in that time I felt like I had seen the future.”

Guardian Cities brings together the best in urban photography on Instagram at @guardiancities. Share your shots with us on Instagram with the hashtag #guardiancities

View this post on Instagram

Shanghai, China. I clambered up the creaking wooden staircase of the old commune. French doors with lucky numbers and large Chinese characters scrawled on the walls. Water drips from the roof and the hallway is lined with old bicycles. There are a couple of kitchens with lights turned off, I cannot tell if they are in use or abandoned. I go to eigth floor, an attic of sorts. I ease open the half-broken windows , looking out across the highway at the impossible. The mist is coming in fast. This is DERIVE. I found this place but I shouldn't be here. I know my gear without having to look. I set the camera and tripod up and adjust settings in the dim red glow of the city. Through this unique process, part divination, part photography, I find meaning in the world. #DERIVE #SHANGHAI #上海

A post shared by CODY ELLINGHAM (@cbje_tokyo) on

Source: Read Full Article