The effect of mass migrations has been the creation of radically new types of human being: people who root themselves in ideas rather than places, in memories as much in material things; people who have been obliged to define themselves – because they are so defined by others – by their otherness; people in whose deepest selves strange fusions occur, unprecedented unions between what they were and where they find themselves.
(Salman Rushdie, Imaginary Homelands)
I travel from place to place, from country to country. They are different yet the same. Light enters the space and melts into flesh and the most significant memories turns out to be veins pulsing on arms. Pores of skin, flaws and marks, texture of hair and fabric, patterns of shadows. Tiny apartments, suburban landscapes, parks appearing like tropical forests only a handful of meters from a highway. For a split second when the shutter clicks I’m in the control. For a split second I lull myself into believing that they belong to me, longing to become another, before they slip out of my reach, turn away, harden their backs, already lost even before the very first picture was taken.
By photographing people around me I draw internal maps of countries of the mind, of memory and my personal history, searching for emotional attachment and intimacy with the world that surrounds me.
by Olivia Poppy Coles
by Thomas Hauser
and in latvian fashion magazine Pastaiga:
I could swear that time in Japan goes much faster than in the other side of globe. My most used sentences are not “I don’t understand” and “Weird..” anymore. I recognise more and more faces in university and have even started to remember Japanese personal names. I can understand, hmm .. let me think, maybe about hundred words in Japanese (counting till ten, weekdays and months of the year included. Yes, I’m ashamed!). I live from rice and I’m addicted to japanese sweet daifuku mochi (have to mention green tea kitkats as well. However, they seem to have disappeared from earth since the beginning of May). Japan has the most exciting second hand shops I have ever seen and the loudest frogs.
There are only two weeks left till our exhibition opening and only five till the day when I have to go to airport to fly back to England. I spend most of my days between university and home. Learning, reading, writing, taking pictures, fighting with mosquitos and counting millimeters and struggling with dust in the darkroom.
Unfortunately I can’t share any of my work here yet as it all is on paper, not digital, because I don’t have any possibility to scan my negatives in university, but I’ll work on that when I’m back in Europe. Japan probably is the most expensive country where to do analog photography.
Nagoya University of Arts.
With Margaux on our rooftop.
Rooftop nighttime. Margaux posing.
Margaux still posing.
A photograph with me looking like a boy by wonderful Olivia Poppy Coles from her graduation project in University of Brighton, stolen from her blog. You can still make it to the BA graduates show in London that opens in a few days.
My first cover and fashion editorial, published in the last issue of latvian VETO magazine, and a few unpublished pictures.
Styling: Laura Šilinska
Model: Līga Jankova, Dandy
Some while ago, during the Golden Week holidays in Japan we (I think in the last few months I have been using “we” more often than “I”, and with “we” I mean the exchange student bunch – myself, Fionn, Margaux and Hannah) went to Tokyo.
I fell in love with it from the first sight. It’s lights, craziness and energy made my heart beat faster.
We booked a night bus in the last minute and and hit the road without a return ticket and without knowing where we are going to stay apart from the first night. However, thanks to the all amazing people we met in Tokyo and who made our experience of city unforgettable, we had no need to spend our nights in park. Wide streets, impressive architecture, huge TV screens on the crossroads, lazy afternoons in parks, dancing till the morning light, karaoke (of course!) talking bridges and escalators, train lines above your head, cozy cafes, never ending lines of vintage shops, food prepared in the front of your eyes, hidden bars and galleries, impossible to find without an iphone as the western understanding of addresses doesn’t work in Japan. “Tokyo has taught me that in life everything is possible,” told my friend who has been living there for several years. I can only agree.
We ended up hitchhiking back in the very last day before our uni started again, whining that we want to move to Tokyo.
First morning in Tokyo
Asakusa Kannon temple
Margaux being very cute and me
View from Mori Art Museum
Last weekend we went to Kyoto, one of the major cities in Japan, and met up with guys from Brighton University – Theo, Chris and Ryan, who are currently traveling around Japan.
In contrast to Nagoya, Kyoto was spared from much of the destruction of World War II as it was removed from the atomic bomb target list. It has around 2000 religious places – 1600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, as well as palaces, gardens and historical architecture. Unfortunately we had too little time to see everything we wrote down in our notebooks, but we managed to walk around the city and to visit Imperial gardens, Kinkakuji – the Golden Pavilion and Ryoanji, Zen Buddhists temple famous for its rock garden with 15 boulders. From any angle, only 14 are visible. And in the evening – to have a few biers with hundreds of japanese, getting drunk in the park under cherry blossom trees.
The Golden Pavilion by Margaux
As all the hostels in the town were booked, we decided to spend the night in karaoke booth. I guess, it’s clear that we didn’t go to sleep. I compensated for that the next morning by almost falling asleep in manga cafe, sleeping on the bench, in the train, on the steps leading to Shinto shrine in mountains outside of Kyoto in the village called Kurama and finally – having a nap completely naked by the pool, filled with hot spring water. The Japanese bath house, called an onsen, was amazing. In the beginning we had all the pool, sun and the view on mountains only for the three of us (man and woman use separate sections obviously), but after waking up I discovered that also an old japanese lady has joined us. She claimed to be 90 years old, but I’m afraid that something got lost in translation there. However, who knows, maybe regular visits in onsen do miracles. Unfortunately I missed her entrance in huge kimono and hair, done up like geisha’s, as I was told afterwards.
Japanese color woodblock print of a bath house with women and children
Our trip ended with a crazy run through the central train station in Kyoto. Good news – we didn’t miss our bus back to Nagoya and I didn’t even get burnt.
Another version of the story by Fionn.
A few images of beautiful Georgia I did last fall for “Orpheus” project in university.
Nagoya from the 52nd floor
Me, Fionn and Margaux on a golden dolphin
Last week me, Margaux and Fionn, all three of us art students from University of Brighton, arrived in Nagoya, Japan, to spend the next four months as exchange students at Nagoya University of Arts. We left London at nine o’clock in the morning and arrived in Nagoya about the same time, losing eight hours on the way, during which our night turned into day. For the first few days I started to regret that I didn’t take my winter coat and gloves, but now suddenly its about 20 degrees already. It all seems so strange. When I looked at Nagoya last night from the 52nd floor, I still couldn’t believe that we are actually here, it felt like looking at a TV screen. I am still jet-lagged and my body has no recognition of the time. It doesn’t know when it is supposed to wake up, sleep or eat and I constantly feel like I haven’t slept all night long.
In the first few days we went to our new university to have a quick look around, unpacked bags in our new, very basic apartment and applied for japanese identification cards for which, I must say, I got my worst ever picture taken – after not sleeping for like 48 hours I look like a drug addict. We also pretty quickly learned that almost nobody here speaks english and everything is written in japanese. It took like three hours to find a common language with our rice cooker. However, everybody is extremely friendly and we have been introduced basically to every person who has walked past us in our uni. And we also have already gotten a wonderful japanese mother – Tamiko. I don’t how we would be able to do anything without her being so nice and helpful, showing us Nagoya and translating bus schedules and supermarket receipts.
Anyways, each time when I walk in the supermarket, I feel lost and have no idea how to spot a difference between milk and yoghurt. However, thanks to Margaux, we have been dealing quite well with switching from european kitchen to japanese. What we are struggling more with, is japanese recycling. It’s no joke, I have a poster on my kitchen wall with approximately ten different types of garbage compilations. Each of those must go in a separate garbage bag and has a certain collection day and hours. For example, white plastic bag with red letters is for plastic, but pink with black letters – for glassware, fluorescent light, umbrella, ceramic, pocket warmer, thermometer and small electrical equipment. I’m not gonna continue.
This weekend we have been wandering around the city – it’s one of the biggest ones in Japan. All city is in cherry blossoms. Girls, all dressed up like cute dolls. The central train station in Nagoya is the largest one I have ever seen, while the suburban neighborhood where we are living in, is very empty and quiet. Today we walked out on the rooftop. It felt almost apocalyptic. I couldn’t see a single person on the streets, only a few cars. Buildings, tightly packed together, as far as you could see. Laundry on balconies, no green areas, electricity towers, mountains far away by the horizon line, but not a single person. Train station making weird noise that sounds almost like an alarm. Sun hiding behind clouds.
So may people are wearing masks; youtube has japanese advertisements; for washing clothes they use only cold water; the fitting room floor in one of the shops we went in was filled with teddy bears, everything is cuter and tinier, not only water, but also the green tea in uni is for free, japanese kids getting wasted under cherry blossom trees. It is impossible to mention everything.
Tonight we went for a bike ride through a cherry blossom tunnel along the river and suddenly found ourselves in a lively market, full of people, lights, paper lanterns and tasty smelling japanese food, so we had a small picnic by the river and got tipsy from a tiny can of japanese bier.
Tomorrow we are finally going to uni.