Ken Straiton

15 May 2002 - 15 Sep 2002

Canadian Ken Straiton has lived in and photographed Tokyo since 1984. Using a very tight compositional format, he presents its complex urban space as an intense, almost hallucinatory, visual experience. The city's energy appears in his images in the multitude of neon signs, billboards, and flashing lights that constantly compete for the attention of passers-by. Straiton's photographs also depict the juxtapositions of disparate cultures and lifestyles that characterize the cityscape. In Tokyo and its surrounding areas, the new is ever reinventing itself and displacing anything with the thinnest patina of age: Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples are small islands of tradition and permanence in a city that is under constant construction. Because it is also unzoned and unregulated, leisure and residential areas mix with those of industry and commerce to a degree most foreigners find disconcerting.