One snowy stormy night, as he walked home late from work, Eiji Ohashi could only find his way thanks to the glowing lights from vending machines.
A familiar site in Japan, symbolic of its society, they can be found on every street corner, every small village, and sometimes in the middle of nowhere. Vending machines in Japan can be owned or rented by anyone, as a way to make a little extra cash, and there are no regulations as to where they must be.
Since that night nearly a decade ago, Ohashi has been travelling all over Japan to capture vending machines in their very different surroundings, bringing together an ongoing series of photographs.
"The typically earnest and very methodical mentality of the Japanese has been a factor in the rollout of vending machines far and wide, but this same disposition has also contributed to Japanese society becoming oppressive and suffocating," says Ohashi. "That quest continues relentlessly, but we don’t need this degree of convenience in order to live. Rather, having achieved this level of comfort, we should now be asking what is the true essence of happiness."
Now, for his first solo exhibition in Europe, Ohashi is presenting his Roadside Lights] series at Galerie &co119 in Paris until 1 February 2018.
He adds: "One message in my work is that I wish for a world in which each and everyone is able to shine", perhaps like the machines he passionately photographed. Discover more from his series at www.eijiohashi.com.