Photographer Carlos Bravo hopes to capture the essence of humanity’s ties with the environment. But he does so almost without snapping a shot of a single person.
Instead, the Spanish shutterbug trains his lens on the bridges, buildings and highways that stand as monuments to humanity’s dominance. And his latest photography project captures one of the most complex concrete arrays of concrete imaginable: Tokyo. The pictures he took during his visit to Japan’s capital, which are reminiscent of photographer Masataka Nakano’s “Tokyo Nobody” series, show just how deep of an impression our construction has left. Below, he tells us more about the inspiration and the process that brought the photographic project “capital del este” (“Capital of the East”) to life.
Tell me about your background as a photographer. What experiences and successes have you had before coming to Tokyo?
I believe that my experience in the world of photography began in 2005, the year in which I made a trip to New York, accompanied only by my camera. Like many other photographers, I began experimenting. Before coming to Tokyo, my work had been part of some collective and individual exhibitions. I was also given awards and recognition in various national and international events and exhibits.
Why did you want to come to Tokyo and take these photos?
There are several things that brought me to Tokyo. The city as a built-up area has always aroused great interest in me. Moreover, I am very interested in the relationship between man and territory, and this is the city where that link is more evident and where more tension is generated by it. Tokyo is such a large city, and its population is so high, so it was the perfect place to explore and try to understand that connection.
What do you mean by the “relationship between man and territory?”
The city, as an entity, has always interested me and I consider it an extraordinary phenomenon. So, I am documenting how humans alter the landscape to meet their needs and habits. Cities, roads, bridges, and so on, are the main focus in my work. Man is virtually absent from my photos, but his actions are very present. Tokyo, like all cities, is a human work.
What are some of the best things that you captured in your photos?
Tokyo is a great city with great contrasts between tradition and modernity. The views of the city from the Metropolitan Government Building are impressive. Tokyo does not seem to end, extending far as the eye can not reach. I was also impressed by the highways that wind throughout the city, and the overall vitality of this metropolis. It is a huge tapestry of concrete, steel and glass, which seems to have its own life. Of course, the behavior of people and their general level of education also impressed me. Undoubtedly, this is one of my favorite cities.
Which of your Tokyo photos was the most challenging to take, and why?
All photographs in general are a challenge for me. As I said earlier, I wanted to explore and show how humans relate to the territory, and how they condition it to their needs. The city is a clear human footprint and shows a lot about man and his lifestyle. I wanted my pictures to capture that essence.
How has this photography project make you grow and evolve as an artist?
I honestly think photography makes me evolve naturally. I’m still curious, and using my camera as a notebook, I photograph everything that piques my interest. I think that photography must be natural, and must be carried away by the senses and feelings. That is precisely what I did in Tokyo, and it is what I try to maintain.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I would add that in addition to photography, travel is my other passion. Tokyo fascinates me and I wanted to know this city. I hope to return.
To see more of Carlos Bravo’s photographs, you can check him out on social media.
Images: Carlos Bravo