Matthew Pillsbury, Akihabara, Tokyo, 2014
Archival pigment ink print, 20” x 24”

Matthew Pillsbury, Tokyu Plaza, Tokyo, 2014
Archival pigment ink print

Matthew Pillsbury, Tokyo Stock Exchange, 2014
Archival pigment ink print

Matthew Pillsbury, Daibutsu-Kotoku-in, Kamakura (Buddha), 2014
Archival pigment ink print, 30" x 40"

Matthew Pillsbury, Cup Noodle Museum, Yokohama, 2014
Archival pigment ink print, 50" x 60"

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Matthew Pillsbury, Akihabara, Tokyo, 2014
Archival pigment ink print, 20” x 24”

Matthew Pillsbury, Tokyu Plaza, Tokyo, 2014
Archival pigment ink print

Matthew Pillsbury, Tokyo Stock Exchange, 2014
Archival pigment ink print

Matthew Pillsbury, Daibutsu-Kotoku-in, Kamakura (Buddha), 2014
Archival pigment ink print, 30" x 40"

Matthew Pillsbury, Cup Noodle Museum, Yokohama, 2014
Archival pigment ink print, 50" x 60"

Matthew Pillsbury: Tokyo

“For over a decade now, I have made long exposure photographs using only available light. Across several series and in many cities, I have focused on the passage of time and people within spaces both public and private. My work has addressed the growing role that technology is playing in our lives and the sense of modern seclusion that can seem at odds with the constant connectivity being offered by our smartphones and tablets.

Millions of people file through the streets and subways of Tokyo—the world’s most populous megalopolis—and yet it is often done silently, with each person quietly interacting with their gadgets. That disconnect is at the very heart of so much of our modern existence and part of what I wanted to convey in some of the Tokyo images.

Technology use, as it has in much of the world, has increased exponentially in Tokyo, latching itself onto everything from modern-day cell phone–obsessed geisha women to the ultra-hip neighbourhood of Shinjuku, where themed clubs and bars now include high-tech robotics as a featured part of the entertainment. Expecting to encounter the kinetic energy depicted in the William Klein and Andreas Gursky photographs of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, I arrived to discover that the once buzzing trading floor is now run in almost unnerving stillness by computers. While the temples are still revered and deeply respected places of worship, pop culture and rebellion amongst Western-obsessed Japanese youth have crept irreversibly in, forcing sacred and traditional sites to share cultural importance with modern Manga robots and Disney castles.

To capture this shifting energy and some of the surreal scenes I encountered, I have started making colour photographs and using much shorter exposures. Photographing for the first time in a completely foreign environment has freed me to look at the world with a renewed sense of wonderment.”

Following his Guggenheim Fellowship in 2014, the Douglas Udell Gallery debuts Matthew Pillsbury’s latest Tokyo series for the first time in Canada.

My Itinerary

My Itinerary

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