Laura Berssenbrugge on Japan
Laura Berssenbrugge, who grew up in Hawaii, is a photographer and works as a clinical psychology researcher studying body image. Here, Laura shares a bit about her time living in Japan - which includes her favourite vintage shopping spots.
"I lived in a small mountain town in southern Japan that looked like The Lord of the Rings' Hobbiton. I remember students walking to school in sailor uniforms, grandmothers riding their bikes to the supermarket, businessmen in crisp dark suits. Japan harbours a naturally dignified and idiosyncratic way of life that everyone should experience."
"I love capturing everyday objects and situations - people walking to work, flags in a breeze, flowers - and isolating them from their usual context. We so often take for granted the beauty before us and idealize places we have never been to. I try to experiment as much as possible with different cameras and films. Right now, my favourite camera is a little Lomo Golden Half, which splits each photo into two frames, paired with expired colour slide film."
"Kyoto has a wonderful design district right behind a covered shopping arcade that sells fresh fish, rice and souvenirs. Hanjiro sells well-groomed vintage (who doesn't love a rack of sequins?) as well as the latest Japanese fashions. Sou Sou offers beautifully designed bags, tobi shoes, and traditional Japanese-inspired styles. I picked up a periwinkle kimono cape last year.
In Tokyo, the Mori Art Museum features young and established Asian contemporary artists. The Tokyo Metropolitan Museum of Photography showcases extremely diverse photography, from 1870s landscape photography to modern digital advertisements. Tokyo has some of the best people watching in the world; be sure to visit the Harajuku, Shibuya, and Kabukicho districts on the weekend. Everyone puts on their Sunday best!"
Photography: Laura Berssenbrugge