Daisuke yokota

This Ja­panese artist’s painstak­ing process is the per­fect an­ti­dote to smart­phone photo cul­ture

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The Ja­panese artist whose work is an an­ti­dote to smart­phone cul­ture

In our im­age-steeped mod­ern world, where any­one with a smart­phone to hand can shoot a pic­ture in a mat­ter of sec­onds, Ja­panese pho­tog­ra­pher Daisuke Yokota’s as­sid­u­ous artis­tic approach to the medium couldn’t be more at odds with its ev­ery­day us­age. Over the course of hours, days, weeks, Yokota cre­ates unique pho­to­graphic prints and pho­to­books through a painstak­ing process of pho­tograph­ing, print­ing and repho­tograph­ing, dip­ping into a whole palate of of­ten un­usual dig­i­tal and ana­logue pro­cesses to star­tlingly orig­i­nal ef­fect. There’s been a buzz build­ing around Yokota’s work for a cou­ple of years now. In 2015 he won the first John Kobal res­i­dency award for an emerg­ing artist at Photo Lon­don. Last year, in ad­di­tion to clock­ing up group shows and art fairs in New York, Hong Kong and Dubai, he scooped the pres­ti­gious Foam Paul Huf Award. His pho­to­books such as Linger and Ver­tigo have be­come col­lec­tors’ items. Yet de­spite these re­cent suc­cesses, Yokota re­mains mod­est. “It has been a won­der­ful year,” he says. “But I don’t see this as some­thing I de­served: it is more like an en­cour­age­ment to think about fu­ture work. I feel I will be judged [on what I] achieve af­ter­wards.” Still, his fu­ture cer­tainly looks promis­ing. Tate Lon­don’s Cu­ra­tor of Pho­tog­ra­phy and Paul Huf judge Si­mon Baker has de­scribed him as “one of the most in­no­va­tive and ex­per­i­men­tal young pho­tog­ra­phers work­ing in the world to­day,” and it’s not hard to see why.


Yokota be­gins by tak­ing a dig­i­tal shot on a com­pact cam­era. Af­ter print­ing the im­age out on an inkjet, he re-pho­to­graphs it on a medium for­mat cam­era us­ing rare or dis­con­tin­ued types of film, which he sources on­line. Then he prints it again and re-pho­to­graphs it again. And again – at least four or five times, up to 10 or more.

In­stal­la­tion view from the ex­hi­bi­tion ‘Mat­ter’, 2016

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