Behind the Images: Rohan Hutchinson – A City in Itself

Rohan Hutchinson, author of The City in Itself, tells us the story behind five of his favourite images from the project. See the book here.

1: Untitled 1

With this work, what interested me in the location is the introduction of nature into the urban environment along with this how colour is often used in the built landscape to replicate that of the natural. It’s something that has always intrigued me.

To capture this I decided to show the interaction between the Natural and the built landscapes on a level field, almost like a canvas or a 2 dimensional plane. Doing this with using very little depth of field it enables the viewer to really take in all objects in the frame without any major dominant subject in the frame.

2: Untitled 2

This is a photograph of a wall, and the reflection of the opposing street, shown through a mirrored window of a Tokyo love hotel.

The love hotel is something that is very foreign yet intriguing as a Westerner. Taken on the street from where my AirBnB was located, this image was made to abstractly capture an essence of the Japanese social structure.

Yet I wanted to display this in a secretive way, only exposing this to those who asked about the image. For one who looks at the image it’s just a photo of a street with a reflection, but for those who inquire more about it they discover their imagination trying to unveil what could be happening behind the window.  

The photograph presents not a view or opinion into this element of Japanese culture, but an observation into housing and social acts.

3: Untitled 16

Those who have spent a fair bit of time in Tokyo come to realize that what lies behind a door is not always what one thinks. This is where my curiosity ran with this location, and really made me want to document it. Is it an entrance to a bar, office, apartment, or simply just a boring maintenance Room?

4: Untitled 17

Japanese concrete, made somewhat famous to the westerner by Tadao Ando, is an element of Japanese architecture that is so distinct, and something that I will always be fascinated by. With this location it has been raining quite heavily, and after the rain stopped the colour of the tiles and road really popped out, making a great contrast between the concrete, which miraculously stayed dry and the rest of objects in the frame.

I shot this image, as with most of this series, with a telephoto lens, giving the spaces a real lack of depth, presenting almost a layered look of the objects in the frame.

What has really interested me in Japanese design and architecture in the past has been the use of layering to provide depth most commonly used in their Edo period woodblocks, a way of presenting a scene without using a Western perspective. This is an element that I often try to bring into my work.

5: Untitled 21

This is a photograph taken on my balcony after the monsoon, showcasing the clear umbrella which was designed as a disposable product for everyday Japan. It’s a clear identity of their thoughtfulness in design and consumerism. Functional and under 500 Yen.

Rohan Hutchinson is an Australian born Photographer whose primary research has been on the built landscape. Through Photography he questions the transformation of Architectural space and our relationship with environment.

Hutchinson has participated in Artist in residency programs in Japan and Canada; research trips have also included China, Alaska and the Arctic.  He is currently based in Melbourne Australia where he exhibits frequently both nationally and internationally.

His book, The City in Itself, was published in November 2017.