JULIE + 440 COLLABORATION PROJECT - TOKYO, JAPAN
Yoshio grew up in Kiyosumi-shirakawa, an old neighborhood in Tokyo. It's his neighborhood and he has been seeing it change a lot through the years. Last November, Futagoyama Oyakata, a well-respected professional Sumo wrestler, passed away. The neighborhood Sumo beya (stable) where he was training, will move soon to a new location. Yoshio wanted to immortalize symbolic and meaningful places and people.
This is where I came in. He showed me various locations: the Sumo beya where the training is, the Onagigawa River, a Skyline factory (started by Nissan in 1955), the Yokozuna stone (Yokozuna refers to the highest rank in professional sumo wrestling in Japan), and a really old restaurant where a Yobidashi crew comes to chant the names of the Sumo wrestlers before the big competition starts in Ryogoku.
For me the challenge was not only the cultural differences, but also the fact that I don't really photograph places (unless they are part of a story, or there are people in it...).
I therefore decided to not follow the documentary path for this project, but a more artistic and creative path. I had been experimenting with 4x5 film shortly before I met Yoshio. Digital photography is usually very perfect technically and leaves very little room for accidents and imperfections. I decided to provoke those accidents on film: the 4x5 film, usually held preciously to avoid scratches. Before exposing the film, I sometimes abused the negative by various techniques and could never really predict the result. Of course, unplanned accidents also happened. It was a slow process, full of mystery, from taking the photograph, to seeing the image. We both liked the unpredictability and "dangers" of this technique and Yoshio's project was perfect for experimentation. It broke me free from all the rules. These images were more from the instinct and the guts.
Photographs - Julie Glassberg ( mostly 4x5 film, a few digital ), Silkscreen + Dyeing - Yoshio Nomura, special Soundtrack - K.A.N.T.A
Yoshio Nomura (a.k.a. 440) is a Japanese dyeing artist known for his very unique indigo blue and his hybrid-dye method using bean juice, pigments and botanical extracts.
When we met, the connection was strong right away: we had similar interests and most importantly, we both valued what's real and authentic.