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Bridges, Underpasses, and Heart

February 5, 2010

This is the perfect time of year to see Kaoru Tohara’s “The City Within”, on display until February 28th at Filmmakers. It is a thought-provoking and celebratory exhibit of black-and-white photographs of our city. Tohara, a native of Tokyo, sees the city as the manifestation of the people who make it up. Looking at his photos is like looking into a mirror; you see yourself and your surroundings from another perspective.

The photographs document the transition that we will all soon encounter. The exhibit begins with a series taken during the winter, where nature is all but absent, and the Euclidean geometry of man-made objects overpowers the natural elements that hide in the background of the images. The final images in the exhibit are from the summer, showing nature reclaiming its place in our city.

Tohara’s deft portrayal of the little and humanizing details that are often ignored makes you think about how every object hints at its makers and its users. Looking at these photographs is like putting on your favorite T-shirt, the one whose holes and stains give it sentimental value. The photos show what life does to commonly used objects.

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