There are lots of good memories around the making of this feature. Not least the fact that the article in itself was written and published superbly by Collective Hub , but it was also an adventurous time in our lives.
I’d just decided to make the switch from my trade of 17 years to pursue Lost Collective full time, and we were on our way to Japan, intentionally what was planned as a holiday but somehow became hijacked and turned into a search of abandoned buildings.
Three weeks trekking into the unknown!
On our way to Japan, Collective Hub asked if I had any Japanese related content, for part of an upcoming segment in the next run of the magazine.
We were literally at Hong Kong airport on my way to Japan when I received that email.
As far as planning the trip across the countryside goes. I had a rough idea of places we ‘could’ go, but nothing was firm, apart from the fact that the first five days would be in Tokyo.
As it panned out, we managed to build a lot of content quickly. The first place we went specifically to seek out abandonments was Yubari.
We drove back and forth from Sapporo where we stayed to Yubari where we shot for four days straight.
There was only a couple of places in Yubari that were predetermined to visit, the school and the power station
When you drive into Yubari, you can almost feel the vacuum that has resulted in a bankrupt city that has seen a 90% decline in its total population.
The sense of abandonment is overwhelming. There’s a distinctive sense of stillness as you enter Yubari out of the tunnel from the highway
So in the midst of our three weeks in Japan, after I’d managed to build up some decent content, I worked through this article with Collective Hub.
It’s an adventure I won’t soon forget. I want to go back!
This gallery was the product of four days wandering the streets of Yubari, taking snippets of occupied and abandoned buildings from those and joining them into this gallery.
Before this trip, I always envisioned Japan as a sprawling tech hub where everything is illuminated and busy. It can even become an assault on the senses. I’ve been four times now. I won’t be surprised if we go four more. We love Japan. It’s an amazing culture to immerse yourself in.
So, as we travelled further from the city centres to the regional towns and rural areas found withing an hour or two of the city centres, I saw a very different Japan to what I’d seen before.
In smaller villages and hamlets, instead of continuations of the small family businesses, the younger generation abandon the store or farm in seek of better work opportunities found in more populated places.
The communities begin to fade away and the buildings that they lived and work from become abandoned.
Our excellent tour guide for a day in Yubari was Sato San.
Sato San is part of a group of volunteers, historians, aficionados and advocates called the Shimizusawa Project , who work to preserve the history of Yubari and its importance in the story of the Japans industrialisation.
Having always been a massive fan of Nikon used the gear from the beginning to now, I was chuffed to have been featured in My Nikon Life.
Even better was the fact that they were kind enough to lend me a Nikon D810 instead of having to use my old Nikon D7000 with AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED , AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED and AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/4G ED lenses, and take it to Japan no less, on the simple request that I try to not ‘destroy’ the gear.
Seemed like a fair ask to me.
This was one of the most fun-filled adventures of my life to date. I was just working in a job, unsatisfied with how my life was turning out and having been that way for 17 years.
We took this trip to Japan, and I resigned from my job two weeks later to focus on Lost Collective. Truth be told it has been a lot harder than I expected.
I’ve been chipping away through the photos, still to this day, processing, editing, metadata, research, copywriting and publishing plus trying to keep on top of new stuff for the future!
But I wouldn’t do it unless I loved it.
In a world of truly mindblowing photographers that Nikon supports, I am eternally grateful to have been able to fit into the picture to tell my story.