mahabis photoessay // justyna zduńczyk, unseen moments japan

what fascinates us about this series of photos taken from hidden spots by photographer justyna zduńczyk is that on the surface it looks like a study of urban Japanese life, commuters and workers but these people have been snapped unwittingly and the moments stolen without their knowledge or permission.

the expressions are solemn and sometimes awkward. the images reveal a sense of yearning and search for singular individual moments. it shows everyday people in isolated moments or with a sense of invisibility.

many are disjointed by objects in the forground that cut them off from the rest of the pictures. the aging geisha takes her coffee alone in a modern coffee shop, her head held high and face almost blank but still purveying a sense of contained contemplation.  we view her through a panel, cut off from the rest of the scene.

the office workers squeeze in a picnic date at lunchtime. she has prepared a full banquet for a park bench and has found a spot with cherry blossoms. their backs are turned to us.

the school girl pauses in the park for no apparent reason, her face covered in a mask to defend herself from the germs of society. we spy her from our hiding spot in the brush.

there is also a sense of invading private moments in the series.  an office girl tries to make herself invisibly by a wall in the subway, her phone held hopeless open in her hand. the camera looks down at her as she covers her face.

the piercing look of the finely dressed elderly lady as she taxis through the city. this may not be so much her enduring character but the serious task at hand on this given day.

the nature of the shots taken in a clandistine manner, makes you question how much of this series is a reflection of the people of Japan and how much it’s a reflection of the photographers sense of herself in the foreign environment.

you can see more of justyna's photos here:

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