Lost on the Ginza Line photogr/phy

by Vicente Mateu

Seven years ago I decided to go alone to spend a few weeks with a Canon 20D and an Olympus Pen E-p. I was a young photographer, just arrived in London from Spain, and needed a little time for focusing on my main passion, photography.

I have always had a certain attraction for Japan, a culture I have felt made of contrasts. On one hand, a metropolis that never sleeps, businessmen on the streets of Kabukicho, students and emojis, a hectic lifestyle. On the other hand, the immobility of the rural landscape, silence, traditions and ceremonies.

Trains move between these two opposites. A mean of transport between different worlds, the Tokyo subway is used by everyone, to cover long distances: in fact, many of the students and workers reside outside of town and are normally need more than one hour one way to reach their university or the workplace.

Among the many lines I used, I got keen on the Ginza Line, which runs through Shibuya, Minato, Chuo, Chiyoda and Tait┼Ź. Built in 1923 by Noritsugu Hayakawa, after a trip to London. The Ginza is the most ancient Asian subway line and the one who daily carries the greatest number of people.

And they all sleep. I was almost concerned, the first time.

They are all transported by the soft, continuous rumbling of the train, and they get all frozen.

The pictures are in b/w, as I wanted to focus on rhythm and contrasts of the environment, without the noise of colours, degrades and saturation.

The Ginza Line Chronicles are a selection of a bigger collection, that you can see here.