2016 / Editorial / Photo Essay

Alone, together

  • Photographer
    Andrei Iliescu

Tokyo is universally known as one of the biggest and most crowded cities in the world. Part mystery, part contradiction, modern Japan offers a unique glimpse of a post-industrial world with one foot in the future and another firmly anchored in the past. Ultra high-tech and ultra-chic, Japanese society balances between old traditions and superficiality, conservative attitudes and modern social interactions with seriously unusual cultural, sexual and societal deviances. The “hikikomori” or the “otaku” phenomenon are just a few of those kinds of deviances the most commonly known. Both came due to the huge and rigid social pressure in clash with a wild nonconformist behavior that lead the individual to a progressive personal isolation. Observing people in the street, I started to become more and more haunted by a kind of feeling of isolation and loneliness that accompanied me everywhere. And then I remembered a paradox: the bigger the city, the deeper the loneliness. Behind their jovial faces and their exquisite politeness my feeling was that even the indigenous seemed not able to interact successfully. It's amazing how solitude can grow in such a chaos, sneaking between so many people and becoming such a concrete part of everyday life. Living alone, working alone, talking alone, alone in poverty, in insanity, alone in joy.

I’m a photographer based in Bucharest, Romania. Since 1990 I started working as a photographer for press agencies (AFP, EPA, Sygma and AP) then moved towards commercial photography. Now I’m engaged in the documentary field working mainly on personal long-term projects. I travel a lot, being fascinated by the culture and vision of the various people from all around the world. www.andreiiliescu.com