Don’t let his personal selection for this Japan Exposures gallery mislead you: Arimoto doesn’t only do street portraits. Visit his thoughtfully designed home page and you will find a good variety of photographs taken on the streets in Japan or other locations such as Tibet (recommended series “Why Now Tibet?”).
What shines through all his images is the gentle approach to his subjects, respectful and yet with a powerful, and at times uncomfortable, quiet undercurrent. Street photography is no longer a niche pursuit, however finding interesting angles of approach is a challenge. I believe that in this genre the photographer’s own personality makes a visible difference in the resulting photographs. I enjoyed looking at Arimoto’s street portraits because you can sense a that these were not images taken by a passing snapper, but someone who bothered to engage on the way. The photos date back over several years, with series named systematically as ariphoto vol. x and no other titles or captions that would shed some light on a context for the viewer. We can see a spectrum of subjects ranging from attractive women to what appear to be homeless people. The reasons for making this photograph is not clear to the viewer and those seeking such clarity might find Arimoto’s photographs a suitable exercise to tolerate a greater element of the unsaid when looking at images.
Shinya Arimoto was born in Osaka in 1971. He graduated from Osaka School of Visual Arts (whose faculty includes Daido Moriyama) in 1994. Since his graduation he held numerous exhibitions and since 2006 is a represented member of Totem Pole Photo Gallery. A solo exhibition titled 「ariphoto selection vol.1」is held at the gallery from 6-11 July 2010.