BackArts & Culture » [Photos] In Tom Blachford's Nightscapes, Tokyo Appears Like a Sci-Fi Dystopia

[Photos] In Tom Blachford's Nightscapes, Tokyo Appears Like a Sci-Fi Dystopia

Australian photographer Tom Blachford has an eye for dystopian, futuristic aesthetics; he’s set it on Tokyo where he’s taken a series of photos depicting some of the city’s most ultramodern structures.

Anyone who’s visited Tokyo can tell you that much of the city looks as though it’s come straight out of a science fiction film, and capturing this on film is essential to Blanchford’s work. He told CNN, “The feeling that struck me when I first visited Tokyo was that I had been transported to an advanced parallel universe. I wanted the images to try to convey that feeling."

His latest series is entitled "Nihon Noir," and is inspired by Neon-noir movies. He explains, “The seminal classic Blade Runner was a huge inspiration, not only for color but for aesthetic and approach." He cites director Nicholas Winding-Refn's Drive and Only God Forgives as influences as well. 

"There was quite a lot of post-production involved on these in order to translate the feeling that I wanted. I wanted to push past the orange tungsten glow and remove any feeling of natural or white light. The tones needed to be cool and neon-stained, as to me that's how the light feels at night in the city."

Blanchford’s photos of the Edo-Tokyo museum portray it in a way that makes it look less like an archive of historical art and artifacts and more like a high-tech factory within which replicants or cyborgs are being built, à la Terminator 2. The bluish tinge of the images creates the cold metallic ambiance that is the essence of his series.

Blanchford often goes to great lengths to capture these images. He details the process of photographing the Kisho Kurokawa’s Nakagin Capsule Tower, a building that is nearly impossible to photograph head-on and a favorite among architecture enthusiasts the world over:

"I arrived at the site to find that all of the available views from the ground, surrounding footbridges and overpasses were disappointing or ruined by light flare from street lights. I noticed a crew of repairmen working overhead repairing some cables on the underside of the expressway. With a bit of begging and negotiation I managed to convince the entire crew to stop what they were doing, pull up the hydraulics on their crane lift truck and move it back perfectly into position for me in front of the building. They harnessed me up and a few minutes later I was 60 feet in the air in the perfect position to shoot the tower." The resulting photo is something akin to manga come to life.

[Photos by Tom Blachford via his official website]

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