Photographs of 'small town' Japan that reveal a different side to the Land of the Rising Sun

Not surprisingly, Tokyo is one of the most photographed cities in the world. Which means it's often the unexpected fringes that offer a different perspective – the small villages and towns that are far from the stereotypes often associated with contemporary Japan.

All images courtesy of the artist. Via Creative Boom submission.

All images courtesy of the artist. Via Creative Boom submission.

In his series, Provincial Japan, Guido Castagnoli uncovers no frenzied megalopolis, no rapidly expanding techno-city or any obvious culture clubs of which so many youngsters wish to belong. Nor are there signs of the kind of extreme minimalism often associated with Japanese culture – one that taps into the beauty of nature. Instead we encounter an atmosphere of quiet and refined suspension amid the somewhat surrealistic landscape of the Shizuoka district.

It's made all the more dramatic with Castagnoli's choice of colour in post-production, although it seems as if every image was captured during dusk or dawn; the golden glow of the late or early sunlight casting a warm glow and long shadows over empty streets and pavements.

Although the settings depicted in the photographs will likely be unfamiliar, the focus on space and structures along with the conspicuous absence of people are reminiscent of the work of photographers like Stephen Shore, Robert Adams and others from the New Topographic movement. This might offer some grounding and comfort, knowing that although the Japanese signage and infrastructure might look alien, there is something there that feels like home – even on the other side of the world.

Born in Turin, Italy, Guido studied Advertising Graphics and Communication before he began his professional career as an art director of a leading advertising agency in Milan. He later turned his hobby of photography into a full-time venture and now works freelance for clients across the world. He's based in Berlin. Discover more:


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