For this 20th edition of European Eyes on Japan/Japan Today, Alexandra Pace from Malta and Alice Wielinga from the Netherlands turned their cameras on Aomori prefecture.
To select a Dutch photographer, we sought help from the Noorderlicht, organizer of photo festival held every other year in Groningen and Leeuwarden in the northern Netherlands. Among the proposals, I saw a few aspects in Alice Wielinga’s ideas which I was not sure about, but more than anything, her unique visuals captured my eye. One of the reasons for my concern was the fact that she would focus on the Nebuta Festival, which all Japanese are familiar with. With the Nebuta Festival, even if you have not seen it for yourself, just hearing the name immediately conjures vivid images of festival floats moving in a procession through the darkness. Considering the brief shooting time frame, it seemed that it would not be very easy to show the Nebuta Festival from a new perspective. As I continued my research, however, I belatedly realized that what is “painted” through “Nebuta” are “still” scenes. The fusion of these picturesque and photographic elements is one of the characteristics of Wielinga’s pwork, even if the forms are totally different. I expected that these elements would synergize and cause a reaction.