Fascinated by Japan, Roberto Badin travelled there for the first time in 2016. This led to the making of Inside Japan, a book and an exhibition, hosted by Hôtel Jules & Jim. A peaceful immersion in the land of the Rising Sun.

“I grew up with Japanese culture. I love the Japanese TV series and cartoons. I even practiced Shotokan karate”, says Roberto Badin, a Brazilian photographer based in Paris. “In the 70s, in Brazil, Japan was thought to be another planet. I would dream to go there, like one would dream of walking on Jupiter, or Mars”, he adds. Fascinated by the land of the Rising Sun, their culture and aesthetics, Roberto Badin travelled there for the first time in 2016. “My wife offered me this trip for my 50th birthday. Two weeks were not enough, for someone who had always dreamt to go there, so I organized another trip in 2018”, he tells us. There, he discovered aesthetics beyond compare, that he transcribed in Inside Japan – a book as well as an exhibition, hosted inside the Hôtel Jules & Jim, in Paris.

Like an ornithologist

Roberto Badin this captured his immersion inside Japan, a country made of contrasts, between tradition and modernity. For the photographer, “though some Japanese cities are teeming with people, [he] felt an underlying – albeit calm and peaceful – loneliness”. He used space as a common theme. While architecture and contemporary art were part of this long-term project, he also questioned the relation between man and space. His models often stand alone, evolving in great empty spaces. In the cover, a young girl catches people’s attention, seemingly levitating inside a court. “Unconsciously, I guess I wanted to place her in another time and space. It is as if she wanted to look at what is happening beyond the frame, a teenager wanting to escape her environment”, he tells us. The author pairs each of his images with a story. Thus, another picture shows a party hall reminding him of private clubs in Rio de Janeiro, where he used to go with his family, as a child. “I could spend hours talking about it, it brings back good memories”, he says.

Though his pictures are well structured, he let chance guide him, during his photographic roaming. “I like to capture the ordinary. I love photographers, directors or painters who manage to build a narration through framing and composition. I feel like an ornithologist, searching for the right moment”, he tells us. A peaceful and minimal glimpse at Japan, as many Western culture view it nowadays.

Inside Japan, ed. Benjamin Blanck, €39,95, 116 pages


Inside Japan, Roberto Badin

Hotel Jules & Jim -11 rue des gravilliers 75003 Paris

Until March, 12th 2019

© Roberto Badin