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    Lauded and awarded the MAGNUM Tokyo's Workshop 2015 by famed Danish photographer Jacob Aue Sobol, Taro Karibe seeks to reconstruct and alter people’s collective consciousness through his gritty and brutally honest photography.
    Photography by Taro Karibe, Interview by Appy Norapoompipat.

    AN: How did you get into photography?

    TK: The story dates back to when I was a high school student. At the time I wanted to be a photographer since commercial photos on magazines fascinated me. I tried to get into some art colleges, but I had to give up. I have partial color-blindness, so my surroundings told me it was impossible to be a photographer so I decided not to be one. Four years later, an opportunity arose. I had a chance to travel around Republic of Kenya with a photojournalist. He taught me about photojournalism and told me "How you photograph is not really a problem. What you take is much more important." It was eye opening, and since then I started to think - maybe my eye problem doesn't matter to be a photographer at all. After that I started training in earnest.

    AN: How has living in Japan shaped your photographic style?

    TK: At first, it influenced my perception of things. I think Japanese mentality is sensitive, naive and sometimes melancholic. Growing up in Japanese delicate culture -especially literature- made me very introspective. Besides in terms of visual expression, I think I'm influenced by Ukiyoe -Japanese wood block print. My portrait photography is particularly influenced by that.

    AN: Is there a specific reason you shoot black and white?

    TK: Because I can find the essence of subject more easily. Colors have too much information, so sometimes it bothers me to "see" photographs. When there is no color, I can concentrate on the shape of subject itself, light, shadow and what hidden in the picture. Although I also love to shoot in color, there is different good point in each.

    AN: Every city has its utopian and dystopian elements - what makes Tokyo such an interesting subject for you for this specific theme?

    TK: Because I live in the city. I'm a part of the well-regulated social system. I am eager to understand how the system works and where the utopian/dystopian elements are coming from.

    AN: What was it like studying under the legendary Jacob Aue Sobol? What was the best thing you learned from him?

    TK: It totally changed my photography life. He lifted me up to a high place I’d never before imagined.
    He taught me how to get involved with people and the importance of loving my subjects.

    AN: Are there other photographers that inspire and influence you?

    TK: A lot. I can't name them all. Q.Sakamaki, Henri Cartier-Bresson, James Nachtway, Lise Salfati, Antoine D'Agata, Diana Markosian, Kosuke Okahara, Hajime Kimura, Masaru Goto, Magid Saeedi, Stephan Vanfleteren, Mario Giacomelli, Joakim Eskildsen, Ikko Narahara, Thomas Dworzak and so on.

    AN: What are your goals as a photographer?

    TK: Making a photo trilogy that expresses this modern society, and containing universal thoughts that goes down to posterity. I love Dante Alighieri, the great Italian writer. His masterpiece "The Divine Comedy" inspired me a lot. On the book, he reconstructed the aspect of society and people's collective consciousness at that age very systemically. I am eager to do the same by using photography as the tool to do that.