Mamiya C220 with 65mm f4.5 lens
Photographer: Hitoshi Kanzaki website / flickr / tumblr
I ran into Kansaki at Ebisu Garden Place near the Tokyo Metro Museum of Photography. I took a snap of his camera and we started chatting. He said he was going to Gallery Poetic Scape for the OU-en The So Books event since that was where I was headed as well we moved out and talked some more. He told me he had an exhibition at the Nikon Salon in Shinjuku in January of his street photographs- titled Our Street View and just happened to have his portfolio from the show on him.
You can and should check out his series on his site here: Our Street View
While he mostly shoots film (check him out on Flickr), for his Our Street View series Kanzaki attaches a small digital camera to the right handle of his wheelchair pointed ahead over his shoulder. Since the camera is slightly behind him he never knows exactly what’s framed- to add even more ambiguity to how he photographs he triggers the camera with a remote shutter release set with a two-second delay
Each picture in this series is made at the same exact height- a comparison to Google street-view is probably inevitable but the personal diary nature of the project is there. He traverses the city and we are carried along for the ride. The sequences reflect the very act of moving around the city- a series of often non-moments that are punctuated with some interesting single images and mirrored self reflections- not to mention the stares from young children. Our Street View also includes an interesting repetitive element of the rail station attendants who assist him in and out of train cars with collapsible boards that bridge the platform gap. While he is noticed in the frames from time to time, one can’t help but feel invisible while viewing his pictures.
He shows us a world that’s obviously out there but not readily or even possibly seen by most people. At the same time, I think Kanzaki’s wry ambivalence in attempting to advance a cause of any sort with his pictures is an important part of understanding the work. His sense of humor was apparent in the fact that his framed photographs were hung in the Nikon Salon at wheelchair level.