Ever wondered what the world could look like in a hundred years? Well Australian photographer Tom Blachford has made that much easier using clever photography to create futuristic looking imagery of Tokyo’s metabolist buildings that fool the observer in his latest project Nihon Noir.
This is the second time we’ve come across a brilliant piece of work by Tom Blachford, after covering his Midnight Modern project of an eerie Palm Springs in an article last year. In a more recent project entitled Nihon Noir, Blachford brings his unique style to Tokyo, shooting the city’s metabolist buildings at night.
Metabolism is a Japanese post-war modernist architectural movement that saw uber-futuristic buildings constructed across Tokyo. The idea behind it was to merge architectural structures with organic biological growth and the product was something really quite unique!
The movement was pioneered by Japanese Pritzker Prize-winning architect Kenzo Tange during a period of economic recovery. The movement was hugely theoretical, even having a Metabolism manifesto, which consisted of four essays called Ocean City, Space City, Towards Group Form and Material and Man. There were also blueprints for huge floating cities and plug-in capsule towers that could incorporate organic growth. Tange died in 2005, but his practice Tange Associates continues to operate.
In these series of photos Blachford captures the strange, futuristic feel of metabolism waiting until night descended upon Tokyo to create the eerie, cold effect on his photos. His shots have that film noir theme shown most famously in films like Blade Runner.
“My goal for the series was to communicate the feeling that struck me the first time I visited Tokyo, that somehow you have been transported to this advanced and amazing parallel universe,” said Blachford.
“I selected a core list of buildings that embodied the Metabolist philosophy which attempted to combine the creation of brutalist megastructures with the principles of organic growth,” he continued.
“Though these buildings are from the past, they appear as if they have appeared from the distant future. My intention is for the viewer to ask not ‘where’ they were taken but ‘when’,” said the photographer.
Wondering when the pictures were taken is our immediate reaction when looking at Blachford’s work. You assume they are either fabricated or taken in a distant past, as was the case with his Midnight Modern project. His photography in this project does the opposite. He tricks you into thinking you’re looking at future. It’s really clever photography that has us scratching our heads on how he accomplishes it.
Well it took him six nights on the trot, shooting the city from all sorts of vantage points like a trained sniper. He worked between 9pm and 5am from rooftops, stairwells and even managed to blag his way onto a road workers crane lift. No doubt he would’ve seen a side to Tokyo not many get to see.
As HEKKTA have never been to Tokyo, Blachford has only made us want to go even more. The truly unique city which contains so much intrigue and odd design has been captured brilliantly by Blachford. Another fabulous project!