Yoshinori Mizutani’s subjects include landscapes, skyscapes, animals, and flora and fauna, sometimes depicted in heightened, surreal colours. He plays with focal points and movement, using the camera to blur and obscure that which it captures, focusing on the expressive possibilities of the natural world.
Tokyo Parrots 005 is part of a series shot over a year that documents parakeets that fly in swarms to the elm tree near the artist’s home in Tokyo’s Setagaya area. They flocked daily until eventually hundreds of the tropical birds appeared – a surreal sight, given that they are not native to the urban environment. Upon researching their presence in the area, Mizutani discovered that parakeets were imported to Japan from countries such as India and Sri Lanka in the 1960s and ’70s and sold as pets. Eventually, they made their escape and now roam the streets freely, undomesticated.
Using strobe lights, the artist shot the birds in the evening, highlighting the hallucinogenic colours of the birds against the sky. He states: “These parakeets aren’t supposed to exist in Tokyo, but they do. And it’s the intensely uncanny feeling I felt when I first saw the swarm that I’ve captured in these photographs.”
The River District Billboard is generously supported by Wesgroup.