James DiBiase Photographer
Tel. 01273 566686
Mob. 07840 127319
Japan is a country of dizzying contrasts, place of ancient customs and traditions but is also at the cutting edge of cool modernity. Old architecture fuses with modern creations and village like neighbourhoods mix with neon extravaganza. You can leave the gates of a serene temple and walk into a stream of mobile phone wielding salary men and office ladies. Peace to pandemonium in two steps.

"The nail that sticks up is hammered in" is a Japanese saying, which describes the strong compulsion to conform. But like the country's volcanic geography there are occasional eruptions of chaotic activity, as if some kind of release of excess pressure is needed to maintain equilibrium. On schooldays Tokyo teenagers are seemingly identical in their uniforms, but on Sunday afternoon some emerge dressed as Goths, baby dolls and 21st century geishas. A respectable commuter reads a comic, the pages of which are full of very explicit sex and graphic violence. The businessman repeats his routine journey to work yet the same grey suited figure can be seen folded into an origami pose amidst the morning rush. The image of the Golden Temple in Japan's ancient capital of Kyoto captured fleetingly on a mobile phone, serves as a state of the art souvenir.

These photographic juxtapositions illustrate the order and chaos, which coexist in a culture grounded in conformity. All these appearances, odd interplays set off in my mind as singular, diptych or triptych arrangements. When the pictures are locked together they establish associations that are both ambiguous and intriguing. The ordinary is the truly extraordinary. And vice versa.