On Transition

Arakawa Photo Shop 2F. Tokyo

This picture was taken with a disposable Fuji Film camera about eighteen years ago somewhere along the Arakawa Line in Tokyo (circa. 2000). I like it for a lot of reasons: the materials that are visible, the washing hanging out, the telegraph pole and the blue sky. The Fuji Film advertising sign completed the shot for me because of the device I was using to snap with on that day. To me it just says ‘life’ and it reminds me of everything that is new in the world, not old or decaying. Set against the seeming permanence of the sky, the concrete and brick cladding is cracked and the steel is corroding. I don’t know if the building is still there, but the rate of change in the physical environment in Japan since I came here in 1999 has been speedy and constant. The scene reminds me of the impermanence of things and the very obvious dialectical notion that out of the old the new is continually being generated. Traces of the old are always present in the emerging. The idea reassures me that in today’s dark political times change will come but whether or not it is for the better depends on how people organise themselves socially and politically. Anyway, I like the picture.