Japan’s southern island of Kyushu may not be the first destination travelers think of when visiting the Land of the Rising Sun. But it is home to some of the nation’s most storied cities. Located roughly 530 miles away from Tokyo, Kyushu is known for its slow pace, natural beauty, and having the most onsens of any city — thanks to the nine active volcanoes in the area, including Mount Aso in Kumammoto, as well as the constantly grumbling Sakurajima volcano in Kagoshima. The island’s cultural impact shouldn’t be overlooked either, with cities like Fukuoka boasting some of the best food in the nation, along with birthing world famous labels, such as nanamica.
David Abrahams grew up far away in England’s northern city of Leeds. Like many, however, the British photographer fell in love with the fiery beauty of Kyushu to the point where he’s dedicated his upcoming exhibition in honor of his experiences. Known for his dreamlike film portraiture that has featured on Vogue covers and Chanel campaigns, Abrahams opted to turn his focus on the seemingly mundane instances of daily life in the coastal city of Karatsu: a rusty corner of a muscle car, the inside window of a storefront or the moss growing on a tombstone.
“There is a strong sense of observation from a space of isolation,” Abrahams said in a statement, “and as such these images take on a sort of voyeuristic, solitary approach. As a photographer, there is always an intention: when you frame something it’s always about what you are trying to show or depict. There’s a fine line between documenting, idealizing and culturally appropriating the place you have photographed.”
Abrahams developed the roughly 60 photos he took on his travels in a darkroom of his North London studio, as if exploring “a distant memory or a dream. Taking out the original context, and exploring the images I was naturally drawn to,” he added. Kyushu will open on August 31 at Have A Butchers in East London and run through September 8.
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