The fascinating light of Masashi Wakui’s nights in Tokyo

After presented you with the 5 good reasons to attend the Rencontres d’Arles this year, this week, we suggest you explore the enchanting photographs of Japanese artist Masashi Wakui. Presented in our galleries from 11 July to 17 August, they echo the « Street Photography » movement showcased this year at the Festival d’Arles.



The feeling emanating from Masashi Wakui’s photographs is both magical and enchanting. they give us the impression that we’re looking at a film set, like something between Blade Runner and In the Mood for Love. The animated films by the Ghibli studios are also evoked – and this is no accident! Born in 1978, M. Wakui began his photography career in 2012 on a film set, where he discovered a new camera that enabled him to extract static images from the moving images. He specialises in nocturnal views of urban landscapes and Tokyo nights soon became his main source of inspiration. M. Wakui pounds the pavements of the twisting alleyways of neighbourhoods in the Japanese capital, such as Shibuya and Shinjuku, and manages to capture what is unique and fascinating in the midst of ordinary, everyday life. If there were more subjects in his work, it would be street photography.


The highly specific and unique effects produced by Masashi Wakui’s photos stem from the photographer’s aesthetic use of light and colour. Saturated and contrasted images, they powerfully exaggerate the paper lanterns and luminous signs, while sketching out silent and light-footed, backlit passers-by. M. Wakui uses a signature effect in his photographic retouches. Wakui’s style has even become quite famous on the internet. Written and video tutorials have been uploaded by his fans to teach others how to learn and reproduce this stylistic effect. With or without tutorials, his work constitutes a great source of inspiration for nocturnal photography.


With this photo, Masashi Wakui presents us with an image of Tokyo that is far from the noise of the crowd, the hustle and bustle and skyscrapers of the modern world that are also expressed, for instance, in Jörg Dickman’s photographs on the cities of Hong Kong and Shanghai. We discover pockets of this mysterious Japanese capital: its more intimate and perhaps more authentic sides.


Come and explore the work of Masashi Wakui from 11 July to 17 August 2016 in all of the YellowKorner galleries, with the “Energies Urbaines” exhibition. Next week, we’ll take a dive back into childhood, with photographs taken by major names from the design world and produced by YellowKorner.

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