This series of photographs that I took during the winter of 1992 is the work that can be regarded as my starting point as a photographer. In those days, I was very particular about pursuing flatness in photography, and my aim was to take photographs that would prevent the viewer’s eyes from penetrating into the depths of the scene as if their eyesight would stop at the surface of paper. At the beginning, I photographed the cityscapes planarly with a telephoto lens so that they would lose their sense of distance or perspective. However, in the end, I settled on a simple way of photographing flat surfaces planarly just as they are.
The place where I took these photographs was a huge unpaved vacant lot of reclaimed land near the coast of Tokyo Bay, where a shopping mall now stands. It was just an open place without anything, but migratory birds were gathered around puddles that changed to emerald green and were laying their eggs in the gravel. Under the influence of the New Topographics, which was trendy at the time, I noticed while I was photographing this huge empty space that there were minerals on the ground in some parts of the site. It was interesting for me that the ground was metallic and rusted in several areas and that a material resembling lime was floating on the surface. In order to thoroughly capture these details, I used a large 8x10 camera for shooting. I selected bright cloudy days when the light would spread out flatly in order to avoid the production of shadows. Moreover, I intended to produce photographs that generated various images by minimizing the elements expressed as much as possible. Looking at these photographs today, even their producer has come to lose his sense of distance. The ground below the city is transformed into something resembling a satellite image of the city seen from high above, while the ground of the reclaimed land begins to look like the surface of some other planet. By neglecting perspective, the mere flat plane generates a sense of various distances and image fluctuations.
Since taking these photos, I have continued photographing cityscapes mainly on the theme of Tokyo, and I feel that this series, while apparently having no relation to that theme, remains somehow linked to my present works in terms of my interest in the topography underlying the city as well as my commitment to density and to details.