Having been a big fan of the collaborative work of Ruben Lundgren and Thijs groot Wassink for some time I was excited to see their latest project, Tokyo Tokyo. Better known as WassinkLundgren the series of diptychs depict the daily life of the inhabitants of Japan’s urban megalopolis. The Dutch duo shot its subject from both sides, at the same time, as if on a catwalk or in a flurry of journalistic flashbulbs. We replicated this idea in interview format…
Where does the idea come from behind Tokyo Tokyo?
Ruben Lundgren: One day we were in between two appointmenst we had in London while we had to come up for an idea for a Dutch magazine. The theme was ‘collaboration’ and while walking from one appointed to another we spend some time photographing people passing by. This idea we liked so much that we decided to use it to explore the city of Tokyo in 2009 and 2010.
Thijs grout Wassink: I guess it started when a magazine asked us to make a series of images relating to our own collaboration. That’s when we really started playing with the idea of aiming two cameras at the same subject. Looking back at it, it seems like the most logical thing to do when working together.
What was the reaction of the people and were the photographs what you wanted?
RL: The photographs were often taken so quick that people simply noticed just afterwards or didnt notice at all. Except for the night photographs that is, as many girls screamed as a reaction to the surprising double flash, bit embarrassing, but the results are good. To shoot excactly at the smae time is actually more difficult then you might think. But that turned out to be a nice part of the concept as well as many double moments work well because of the unequal moment or composition of the photograph.
TgW: Most of the people we photographed were pretty blasé about it. They didn’t seem to care or notice. But when we photographed at night with two flash lights attached to our cameras, we really did traumatize some people. And I’m really sorry about that.
Where can people see the images?
RL: The images can be found in the book Tokyo Tokyo, and at the van Zoetendaal gallery in Amsterdam followed by an exhibit in Tokyo and Beijing at the Pekin Fine Arts Gallery.
TgW: Probably somewhere on this website. And in the book of course. Also, until the end of February Tokyo Tokyo is being exhibited at the Van Zoetendaal gallery in Amsterdam, a show that will go to Japan later this year.
What’s next for WassinkLundgren?
RL: At the moment we start our preparations for a new project. We made a very small attempt for a series in Paris but thats something we really need to think about more in the coming months. For now we enjoy are activities in London and Beijing very much.
TgW: New work!
Tokyo Tokyo by WassinkLundgren runs 7 January until 28 February 2011
Van Zoetendaal Gallery, 1011 KW Amsterdam, The Netherlands