Nicholas Vroman

Tokyo is a city in constant flux. If the old is not being torn down for the new, it is being reconstructed in a simulacrum of what once was - or perhaps of fantasy of what it might be. And the new soon becomes old in the face of whatever future the city reimagines for itself. Because of this Tokyo seems timeless. I am drawn to the forgotten (or rather, the dimly remembered), the falling down, and the unremarkable (at least in the sense of being generally ignored by passersby). Atget tells me to document these crumbling facades. Strand whispers to revel in their stark beauty. The Bechers insist I create inventories of form. These small set pieces of the city, their paint peeling, gates rusting and surfaces distressed, form a backdrop for the theatre of life that animates this city. Minus the chatter and bustle of passing people, still lives are what remain. Clicking away at images of silent places with shutters locked and doors defiantly closed, my main documentary pursuit - perhaps the pursuit of all photographers - is to define a place in the world. I would call that place Tokyo.

Nicholas Vroman is a photographer, writer, musician and cultural explorer living in Tokyo. He collaborates with his wife, Virginia Sorrells on photography and writing projects. Ongoing projects between them include Ajimi, a blog on Japanese culture, and Tokyo Macro Micro, a photo exhibition on display in Seattle from February - April, 2009.

For more information, comments and conversation, please contact Nicholas at You can see more photos at and at his daily photo blog, Circadium -

Issue #33 February - March 2009
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