‘Japan 311’ (2011)
by Vincent Yu
Camera phones and mobile phone photography became fashionable first in Japan since early millennium and developed into a global phenomenon as Apple’s iPhone and associated ‘apps’ (applications) overwhelmed the market share years ago; a new coined terminology ‘iPhoneography’ sets the birth of a new snapshot movement and supported by billions of international young ‘netizens’ who are hungered to share their private lives (or even other ones) instantly through emails, blogs and social networks. Operating with autonomous narrative and spontaneous artistic license, these diaristic photographers cultivate the snapshot culture with a taste of leisure or paparazzi.
As a photo-journalist, Vincent Yu benefits from the handy iPhone and has used it to capture the recent Japan earthquake aftermath, the resulted ‘Japan 311’ series is a selection from thousands of snapshots. Unlike the relax and casual practice of iPhoneographers, these heavy images bear a grandeur perspective achieved as taken by a tradition medium format camera; the techno-friendliness of the mobile phone releases the burden of the photographer while working in an unpleasant environment. French philosopher Roland Barthes once published “The Empire of Signs” (1970) to decipher the symbols as seen from the Japan lived culture; with the flair of Japanese photographers shooting the relics in the post-war Nagasaki and Hiroshima, Vincent Yu has succeeded to address Japan’s present catastrophic condition and manifests it into iPhone photos under a canopy of discontented symbolic images.
text by Blues Wong
Vincent Yu is a photographer based in Hong Kong, China.
To view more of Vincent Yu's work, please visit his website.