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the erosion beneath
















“When I began this project, the cold, hard imagery of COVID-19 was pervasive in the media. Photographs of masks were ubiquitous, but in a country where mask use is commonplace there was an inherent challenge in visually communicating the situation. While Japan has been relatively unscathed compared to many others, one nonetheless wonders about the mental toll it exacts on the people, and with these things in mind I arrived at my approach; I looked for ways to shroud, distort and isolate individuals in scenes of their everyday lives, aiming to convey what I perceived to be the mental condition of a people enduring this pandemic.” - Tokyo, Japan. 2020-2021

The noise from the dark rattles the inners of your ears. You cast around, relief and fresh air washing over you as the quick inspection reveals windows ajar. The soothing gatan-goton of the train delivering you from stop to stop is somehow still enough to lull tired eyes closed and tilt heads towards their neighbors. The sudden sharp cough of someone a couple of breaths away roars onto the scene like malicious headlights on a silent road packed full of deer. But no one remarks. No one looks. We are in Japan.


Inner turmoil ebbs and flows along with statistics and oddly contradictory campaigns for safety and travel incentives. Plodding through winter, the situation appears deceivingly normal — masks having always been commonplace in the colder months. Here, this handshake and hug-less society records a resounding win. Vinyl barriers and the early closure of restaurants and bars aside, there is little surface damage to identify the quiet conflict at hand. This land of self-restraint and conformity finds itself further boxed-in, but endures its few hundred new cases each day and this new but not altogether different normal with a practiced indifference.




『このプロジェクトを始めたとき、メディアはコロナの冷たく困難な写真や映像であふれていた。特 にマスクの写真はいたるところで常に目に入った。しかし、普段からマスクが習慣になっている 国では、マスクによって視覚的にこの状況を表現することは難しい。また他国に比べれば日本は 比較的損失が少なかったとはいえ、人々が受けた目に見えない影響はどうだろうか。こうしたこ とを考えながら、写真を撮る、あるアプローチにたどりついた。探したのは、写真によって、日 常生活のシーンで人々の顔を覆い隠したり、ゆがめたり、人々を孤立させる方法。このパンデミックをじっと耐える人々の内面を伝えたいと思った。』-東京にて。2020-2021

Select pieces from "The Erosion Beneath" have been exhibited in the US and Japan at various galleries. The following video was taken of the exhibit at Jinny Gallery, Tokyo, in early 2024. For this exhibit, 45 photographs from the series were shown at 6 street lamp booths, each with a unique but thematically connected presentation concept created by the Johan Brooks.

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