Hamish Campbell: Aogashima - life among the twin calderas
Head On Photo Festival 05 - 27 May 2018
The island of Aogashima is the southern most in the Izu chain, almost 400km south of the bustle of Tokyo, Japan. To reach it, you need to first make your way to the island of Hachijojima, then take a helicopter or boat which is cancelled every other day due to rough winds and seas.
Sheer cliffs meet the water around almost the entire circumference, so the one inland swimming pool is the only safe place for swimming. Less than 200 people live there, mostly making a living through agriculture or various jobs supporting the local community; the primary school has more staff than students.
Across multiple trips to the island, Hamish Campbell has been documenting the hidden paths dotted around the harsh and unique landscape, the most prominent feature being the concentric twin volcanic calderas.
This photographic collection includes environmental portraiture of the local residents, many who have lived their whole lives on Aogashima, isolated from the typical scenes of Japan´s mega cities.
With this series of Black and White Photographs, Hamish Campbell shows us how places of majestic isolation and mystery, can simultaneously be quiet, mundane and homely.
It´s easy to exotify places and lifestyles foreign to us, but there is a great comfort in the realisation that under all the built up assumptions of intrigue and mystique that we bring with us to new places, there exists an equal measure of banality and humble everyday community.
All works are silver gelatin photographs, shot using a medium format camera and black and white film; each image carefully composed in camera, developed and printed in the darkroom by Hamish Campbell.
Ambient sound recordings from the island accompany the exhibition installation, along with a short documentary video featuring stunning aerial views of the landscape that is Aogashima Island.