When I arrived in Tokyo I wasn’t sure what to expect; I had no idea how I would be perceived, what I would see and how I would view things. One could say I was thinking first from a traditional viewpoint. However, when I got off the plane and made my way—via “limousine bus”—into the city, I found I wasn’t looking for traditional beauty. I saw things differently. I saw interest in the mundane, beauty in the untouched, and profoundness in the peculiar.
One of the first things I noticed was the prominent use of facial masks (which was shocking, as in other parts of the world this is a rarity, something usually reserved for the sick, or doctors addressing contagious patients). I smiled to myself and wrote it off. But soon after I began to think more deeply about the masked people. I began to find those with masks much more interesting than those without.
What I found intriguing about the masked individuals was that since the majority of their faces were covered, one was forced to look directly into their eyes. And as the widely known saying goes, “the eyes are the window to the soul.” I began to look more closely at those wearing masks, as their eyes seemed to have a story to tell: they told of the day, of what each person was thinking, of the individual’s life. One could read a lot from those eyes, and so I would walk around, waiting to walk pass and make eye contact with a masked person, wondering what was on their mind, what bits of information their eyes would reveal.
Soon after I decided I wanted to try and photograph these masked people, and see if what I saw was reality: the camera would show the truth. The result, for me, was spectacular, as what developed perfectly coincided with my reality. -VJ