tokyo is yours | a photographer's exploration of post-tsunami japan

December 04, 2017

words by: Bere Wangge

Australian photographer Meg Hewitt trained as a sculptor and painter, but decided to pick up photography in 2011. Meanwhile, in the same year in Japan, just a two-hour time difference away from Australia, the deadly earthquake and tsunami struck.

Somehow the two unconnected yet similarly life-changing occurrences have now converged in Hewitt’s much-talked-about photo series, Tokyo is Yours.

After successful shows in Arles, France and Ballarat International Foto Biennale, Australia, the series is currently being exhibited in Sydney. The photos have also been published in a photobook of the same name. The book is unique as it can be read from right to left as well as left to right to honor the Japanese tradition.

Consisting of black-and-white portraits of the humans, animals and objects she encounters in Tokyo, the series is an ongoing project that Hewitt first started in 2015. Influenced by manga, printmaking and film noir, Tokyo is Yours is a “metaphorical exploration” of Japan, seen from the eyes of an outsider aka Hewitt herself.

Through the series, Hewitt is exploring the layers of human connections in relation to the 2011 earthquake. Hewitt has mentioned that she got inspired by the people in Japan with whom she connected regardless of language. In small bars in Tokyo, for instance, people would talk to her about their fears; some of them would share their worries about natural disasters. She also said that, just like with any artwork, interpretations of her photos are open.  

Browse through some of the photos below and try to interpret them yourself:

The Tokyo is Yours exhibition in Sydney will run until December 9. The photobook is available on her website.



Images c/o Lensculture.
Follow Meg Hewitt on Instagram.