Tadashi Onishi Tokyo, Japan

Ghost in the Tokyo Shell:

A Relationship Between People and Tokyo.
Peoples who live in the city don’t know that their existence is real or nothing there. They may suddenly find themselves fading away and merging into the city.


Tadashi Onishi


Tadashi Onishi was chosen by photographer Hiroyuki Nakada


Laatikkomo’s interview with Tadashi Onishi on March 21st, 2017


L: Where are you from? What cities, and/or countries have you lived in – or what places have influenced you?

TO: I was born in Tokyo and grew up in the Chiba pref.. After my graduation from University, I lived in the Yamanashi pref., Boston, MA, US. And now in Tokyo again. Shinjuku and Shibuya in Tokyo, where I hang out with my friends all days, influenced me a lot.


L: What is your earliest memory of photography?

TO: My father showed me my babyhood photos. As for my photo works, I was shocked by Shoji Ueda’s great modern and sophisticated works.


L: You primarily take photographs in black and white, what interests you about black and white film, and do you ever use colour for a project?

TO: To me, Color is real. B&W is like a panorama (mental scenery). Photography is one way of expression of my mind. That’s why I choose B&W for my works. However, for recording such as family photos or documentary photos, I choose color.


L: Your series are held together by the use of systematic repetition of different visual elements. Do the subjects for your series emerge from the editing phase of your work or do you specifically go out looking for stripes or reflections?

TO: Before shooting, I always think about the photography and some subject will come from the thoughts. Then I go to street with the full of it on my mind. But I don’t look for a subject to shoot to. I just shoot what strikes me and mostly it matches my subjects. Stripes, reflections, shadows or lines are just a few of those.


L: Browsing your website, I noticed that all your images were photographed in Tokyo. Are there other cities that interest you or have you specifically chosen Tokyo as your subject?

TO: I think that my photograph should be firmly rooted in my background. Tokyo is my home town where I should shoot from. At the same time, of course I take photographs where I visit, not only in Japan. For example I shot some places in US/Europe. I spent a lot of time in San Francisco. However I think that those photographs are just like “sightseeing photos”.


L: What is the most challenging aspect about photographing in the streets of Tokyo?

TO: To feel and understand the border of the right to shoot and the right not to be shot is the most concern about the street shooting. I know that it’s not only about Tokyo. And one more thing is to be on the street every day.


L: Could you list five or more words related to the work you are showing in Laatikkomo?

TO: Street, Street photography, Black and White, Tokyo, Night, Ghost in the Tokyo Shell, fading away, transparent



Thank you so much Tadashi!