TOPCommunityTW Creatives“Young Mountains”: A Photo Story by Johan Brooks

“Young Mountains”: A Photo Story by Johan Brooks

Large and powerful, unflinching, determined, resilient and unfailingly respectful

By Zoria Petkoska

Tokyo Weekender’s series TW Creatives features various works by Japan-based writers, photographers, videographers, illustrators and other creatives in a bid to provide one additional platform for them to exhibit their talent. The works submitted here belong entirely to the creators. TW only takes pride in being one of their most passionate supporters. This time, we introduce Johan Brooks, a professional photographer by trade and a martial artist at heart. 

Brooks explores a range of themes in his photos but is especially fascinated with people. “With my work covering events, small pockets of culture and the daily goings-on of the everyday man, I hope to contribute to the preservation of ‘us'” he tells TW.

His documentary photography has taken him all across Tokyo and Japan, but here we present one of his projects that takes you to the sumo stables, where young wrestlers train. Brooks photographed them during several visits between 2016 and 2017.

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The young trainees are not yet adults or professional sumo wrestlers, which made their strength even more impressive in the photographer’s eyes. Brooks tried taking photos as close up as possible, often at the risk of getting hurt. He also tried showing movement in his photos, with a few blurry moments signifying the dynamic nature of sumo.

Here’s what Brooks had to say about his “Young Mountains” photo project:

“I remember being a high school student. I remember myself and my peers at that age and I remember none of us having the presence of the students at Mukainooka Technical High School’s Sumo Club in Kanagawa, Japan. Large and powerful, unflinching, determined, resilient, unfailingly respectful — and only 15-18 years of age.

“With this series, I hope I’ve managed to capture something of the calm moments before a bout, the furious flurry of movement as they use a range of techniques to down or remove their opponent from the ring. And then the end of class where practice continues, but also where jokes are cracked and smiles appear. We witness their youth, something easy to forget when watching them train.”

See the full gallery below:


Short Bio

Johan Brooks is a documentary and street photographer based out of Tokyo, Japan. Born in the UK, he grew up in New York and eventually found his way to Japan where he has been living for over 10 years.

His work has been exhibited in Japan, Italy and the US and he is currently finishing his first photo book. He has worked with a range of clients and is especially interested in covering humanitarian and environmental crises. Johan is a member of the VoidTokyo photography collective.

You can find him on Instagram at @johanbrooks.


Featured image by Johan Brooks. 

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