Nakashima Hiroki: Land of Smiles

Yesterday I went to see Nakashima Hiroki’s photo exhibition Land of Smiles in Gallery NIW in Tokyo. I met the photographer in Dark Room Intl. in Yokohama before and had chance to see his work.

Land of Smiles is a collection of candid street portraits took in Thailand.

The portraits show natural connection between the photographer and the subject, and that, according to Nakashima is his purpose. The people looked at ease in their natural poses; the photos didn’t seem to be taken by a traveler, but someone local. Not a small achievement.

The sequencing of the photos as well as the technical quality of the photos were excellent, and show the obvious experience and skill of the photographer. I would also imagine Nakashima’s choice of the media, film instead of digital, is very conscious one.

Overall, the portraits had great variety and all of them had something special. In all of the photos the subjects seemed relaxed and at ease.

After I returned, it occurred to me that perhaps it was the last photo that gave me the final impact, the beautiful young woman dressed in white. The photo had a hint of sadness in it, what I especially liked, a photo that stood out from the others.

Without it, the smiles in the rest of photos might have lost their purpose. The sequencing is very important in any exhibition and the way how Nakashima organized his photos really made them shine, a skill what is only learned by doing.

Land of Smiles is a wonderful work of a human subject.

Visit Gallery NIW until 6/19.

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