Are you an English teacher in Japan? Fancy becoming part of the Natural History Museum in London?
Tokyo-based artist and photographer Gary Mcleod is photographing English teachers in Japan as part of a project for the museum. When I met him last week he told me he was aiming for over 100 people, so there may be space yet.
You can contact him through his website, which has an impressive slide-show of English teacher photographs.
When I first saw the photos I’d assumed he had created the patchwork effect in Photoshop using a single image. In fact, he used a “hybrid” camera of Nikon D70 and a 19th century lens, spent 20 minutes shooting the required number of frames for each portrait, then digitally stitched them together later.
The camera is quite a piece of work. Gary told me he just walked into a second hand camera shop and asked “how do I fit these together?” The staff rustled about in a back room for a while then pulled out the necessary bits and bobs. Only in Japan!
I heard the title of his project, “Privilege” has ruffled some feathers. It seems that not all English teachers agree that its a “privilege” to come and work in Japan. As an ex-English teacher myself though, I have to say it was a privilege to come to Japan, get a good salary despite having little experience or qualifications, and then spend all day talking and learning about Japan. You might disagree.
Other contentious aspect to Gary’s work is his theory that digital photography is “inherently Japanese”, i.e. that only Japan’s unique culture could have appropriated and fully developed the digital camera. (It’s all explained here . . . kind of).
Anyway, if you survived the Nova-Supernova and are still in Japan, here’s your chance for immortality.