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The Photographer Gazes at Okinawa through “Foreign Residential Areas.”
post : 2013.10.11 16:00
Photographer Naobumi Okamoto is a front-line fashion photographer mostly working in Tokyo.
He released a photo-book 4 years ago.
The title is “OFF BASE U.S. FAMILY HOUSING."
He visited Okinawa for the first time around his 3rd year of high-school.
During this visit he felt greatly attracted to Okinawa’s "Americanized" culture and music.
Afterward he became a photographer and kept taking pictures in Okinawa as a lifework while working in Tokyo.
Okinawa has been culturally influenced by the US since the end of World War 2.
With good and bad in it, Okinawa’s situation is impossible to sum up in a few words and impossible to describe from a single point of view. To look at Okinawa as an “outsider” he decided to make foreign residences his subject.
“I started to come to Okinawa regularly and rented a foreign residence with friends to use it as a studio. I thought I needed to start by properly looking at Okinawa first.
I think there are things out there that become visible once you try to think again about the fact that the US came in Okinawa. It is impossible to simply define it as a good thing or a bad thing. I think that on one hand, a good culture aroused with the arrival of the US. I do like the complexity of Okinawa as well.
I like architectural structures so I chose foreign houses as a subject to symbolize this Okinawa’s complexity.
I came to Okinawa between jobs and started shooting in a neighborhood with square houses lined-up in order that I found on a map.
Many things are already determined in terms of foreign house construction, and this is exactly why we can feel beauty arising from these “rules”.”
I think that when looking at Okamoto’s pictures you could feel that it is beautiful and you would be right.
And if you think that the contrast between a foreign house and a red flower is cute, you would be right as well.
But if it is not too much to ask, I would like you to look more closely at the pictures.
Because there you will see “the Okinawa” that Mr. Okamoto looked at.
“I have spent many years coming to Okinawa on a regular basis and now I live here with my family but, I think I am and I always will be an "outsider."
It is not about whether it’s good or not, it’s about being aware of it and still living here and the love I have for the place.
Starting with “OFF BASE U.S. FAMILY HOUSING”, Okinawa shown in every angle in “American Night”
You can see Mr. Okamoto’s series “Okinawan Architecture” in his exhibit opened until September 24th.
This great exhibit will make you think again about your idea of Okinawa while admiring these pictures of beautiful sceneries.
“Foreign Houses Naobumi Okamoto’s pictures” exhibit
Date: From August 29th(Thu) to September 24th (Tue)
Place: D&DEPARTMENT OKINAWA by OKINAWA STANDARD
Address: 2F 2-39-8 Aragusuku, Ginowan City, Okinawa Prefecture