Keiyo Street, by Sebastian Schlüter
After seeing Sebastian Schlüter‘s series “Keiyo Street”, a few questions came up to my mind… mostly about rhythms of life. And about the life of music:
2HeadS – We tend to get used to the city in which we grow up, having some lack of attention to details so we often pass by not looking anymore. When we visit a new city our senses open to those details, to different rhythms, smells, cultural differences. Is it easier for you to shoot the cities when you visit for the first time? Or do you prefer to feel it without lenses and only shoot on a second time when you feel more comfortable?
Sebastian S. – Often I feel a very close and strong connection to a city or place that I visit, but normally this requires some time to develop. Visiting a location several times can help my mind to open up for the mood and spirit of a place. I am however not sure if I can find simple words for what happens in my mind but a close enough description would be, that the emotional foundation of how I see and feel about a place grows over time inside me. This process can be supported by trying to be a part of a place and not only visiting it. An unprejudiced view can help to open our eyes for details hidden for others, but without the previously mentioned connection we maybe miss the essential spirit or character of the place.
2HeadS – Within the same city we can feel different rhythms and routines, even more between different cities and cultures. Your photography reflects it a lot; you play the different rhythms in a wise way. Which are the rhythms and silences that attract you the most in the urban life of the different cities you’ve visited/shot?
Sebastian S. – A very interesting question and well made observation. There is for example a profound difference between certain Asian countries that are very obvious. Other differences are more hidden and require more attention by the observer. Our daily routine is normally strongly influenced by social culture and our environment. I feel drawn towards the more quiet moments, the silent maybe even banal interactions between humans among each other and between humans and the artificially created environment of the city. The situations and moments where people find ways to satisfy there natural demands and needs interest me the most. In rural areas people need to act differently and have found suitable ways to adapt there routines in order to cope with the different environment and the accompanied daily challenges.
2HeadS – Is there a particular city/culture that you didn’t visit yet but you know you will love to shoot in the street for any particular reason or feeling?
Sebastian S. – I have been to many countries in Europe, Asia and Northern America, but had only little chance to visit South America and Africa. Those two continents attract me a lot, however they also show certain challenges, like political and safety restrictions, as well as language barriers. Another topic which I would like to work on, is the difference between rural areas, like in the extremely isolated Arctic regions or some hidden places in Asia, and the modern mega cities around the globe. This contrast is well worth to explore in my opinion.
2HeadS – If there was music playing all over the city you’re shooting, which kind of music would connect more with your way of “stealing” these street moments?
Sebastian S. – I enjoy music a lot and it helps me to connect with any kind of subject. Music supports my creative process. As I said before I look for the silent, unobserved and hidden moments when I wander around the streets. Those moments are integrated into the natural rhythm of a city and change “tempo” rapidly. We can observe wonderful variations in tone, beat and even volume. A city is alternating fast, slow, quiet and loud – for me this is best reflected in Jazz music, where a certain theme is interpreted in many different ways. The interactions of people remind me of the interaction of the musicians and instruments in music. The beat of the city is rich in variation as the drums are in a Jazz band.
about this series Sebastian Schlüter wrote:
“I am a passionate and enthusiastic amateur photographer from Stuttgart Germany. My day job requires some traveling and therefore I have the opportunity to visit foreign countries. The passion for photography grew over the years.
An early contact with the medium of photography derived from my pleasure to enjoy the early morning hours in a city and my desire to capture and maintain the moment when people and cities awake. The similarity between the rhythm of a city and the daily routine of people living in the city, the interaction of individuals as a group, living their regular social lives together in an conglomeration of a huge masses, has always been fascinating for me. A city designed, built and inhabited by people, reflects their characteristics in a very fundamental way. It has been built by men to serve the people.
Soon I developed the desire to document this condition in order to keep those moments for ever. I am not seeking for a greater truth, but for the simple capture of the banal moment in the urban context.
People adapt their daily routine to harmonize their needs with the needs of others. Therefore we also changed our living environment in the cities in order to arrange this harmony on a high level. Sometimes this requires personal compromises of the individual person to the benefit of others. Surprisingly the single human person is very willing to sacrifice its own demands.
In my project “Keiyo Street” I try to show the synchronicity of the human daily routine and the perfectly adapted urban environment of Tokyo. The local trains which ensure mass transportation run in a precise beat similar to the human heart beat and provide the very important backbone of the urban infrastructure.
For a single moment in time we can see the human individual in its environment rather than the mass of people. Captured in a single frame this documents the human condition in its most essential way.
When we slowly move back and increase the distance between ourselves and the city, we are no longer able to distinguish between all those persons individually and need to concentrate on the masses instead. The individuals disappear. They are vanished and gone until we find the time to look closer again…
View more at Keiyo Street – “The Japan Project”
more related posts you want to read:
Ecce Homo by Evelyn Bencicova;
Autistic Solitude vs. Loneliness: the B Shot by a Stranger project;
Hymnal of Dreams, by Elijah Gowin;
The Grotesque Flagellantism, by Gerard Asay;
From Transylvania with Love, by Vlad Dumitrescu;
Flamboya, by Viviane Sassen;
Occupied Pleasures, by Tanya Habjouqa
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