The Lost World: I Took Pictures Of The Magically Desolate Places Of Japan (22 Pics)
Did you know that 13,6% of all buildings in Japan are empty, according to the Japanese Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications? I do now - I was shocked to find empty place after empty place, as I am from a country that has a dire shortage of housing (Netherlands). I was intrigued and obsessively started to photograph everything I encountered while traveling from Hokkaido to Hiroshima.
It took me a while but these photos and this adventure is being printed into a book at the moment. For more info click here.
These photos were all taken over the span of two months in 2018 and 2019 and from all across Japan. I could not resist capturing these desolate places when we drove pas them, always taking care to respect the places we found.
These empty buildings, usually referred to as Akiya, are a big problem in Japan and there's a lot of different reasons for them - ranging from cultural, political and of course, the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. In my book, these will be explained a bit more - and in the accompanying exhibition you will be invited to experience the locations a bit more with smell, sound and images.
There's something sad but also something inherently beautiful in all of these abandoned places. And the overwhelming amount of them; people are quick to think these are all from Fukushima (which some are) but most of them are really from all over Japan.
If somebody would go "wow, there's beauty in this sadness" - that's pretty much what I'm hoping for. The images are a reflection of stillness, of the beauty in decay - I'd love for people to stop and wonder what went on there - about the now worthless memories and trinkets that once were somebody's life. It's surreal and real at the same time. There's a form of magic in places like this to me. And I hope I can share my wonder with them.
Photography is my way of expressing myself, the tool of my trade, my ticket to meet new people and go new places - my way to never stop being curious and a way to show others my thoughts and feelings. It's a never-ending exploration, which I love.