The 2022 Japan Festival Wellington is proud to present an exhibition by Japanese photographer Kana Hashimoto, aka Instagrammerhimu1017
“Kana Hashimoto is a 29-year-old resident of Tokyo whose richly atmospheric photographs of the Japanese capital at night have captured, with focus, intensity, and a sophisticated touch, the peculiar ambience of suspended time that has come to characterise the emotionally charged, endless waiting of this coronavirus era.”
These are the words of American arts journalist and critic Edward M. Gómez, who happened to discover Hashimoto’s extraordinary work while browsing Instagram.
Intrigued, Gómez managed to track down Hashimoto, who told him she had been taking her haunting nighttime photos of the city for the past five years. “I like the night’s silent atmosphere and the light that floats up from the depths of the darkness. I also like the sense of longing one can feel throughout these streetscapes,” she told Gómez.
When the coronavirus pandemic struck Hashimoto continued taking photos on her Fujifilm XT-3 digital camera and posting them to Instagram. Most of the photos in this exhibition were taken during 2020. “During the lockdown, most people disappeared from Tokyo, so I was able to see something very rare and unique,” Hashimoto said.
Writing in Hyperallergic, the U.S.-based, onlinearts-and-culture magazine, Gómez observed, “Hashimoto’s photos capture the muted or sometimes acidic colours of bicycles, overhead telephone cables, and closed shop fronts, along with the icy glow of street lamps in narrow lanes.”
Hashimoto’s photos “strike a resonant chord — a long, sustained, muffled one — of eeriness, free-floating anxiety, and keep-your-distance fear.”
For Hashimoto herself, photography is simply a hobby that she enjoys.
“The city looks so much more attractive and enticing at night,” she explained. “I’m from the countryside, so I like the city which is lit up so brightly, even at night. '