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Tokyo Unmasked

Ken Kamara

About this series:

Ken Kamara wandered around the streets of Tokyo with the intent of asking passer-bys to take off their masks and let him take a portrait of them. The great majority declined, but some showed trust, and accepted to unveil their face to him and to the audience.

One cannot avoid to notice how comfortable Tokyoites are in the surgical masks they wear in public. And even though hygiene seems to be the reason behind this habit, it this cannot be the case in all the circumstances.

In the intimate process of getting closer with the lens to their naked face, while having them sitting on a stool at the edges of a sidewalk under the eyes of everybody, Kamara realized how a big deal personal space is in Japanese culture, and how useful a mask can be to protect one own’s identity. In its race for technological primacy, in all its methodical organization, meticulousness and politeness – the human Tokyo is happy to hide.

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