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At Southern coastline in Niigata City, Japan

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At Southern coastline in Niigata City, Japan

Tokyo-based photographer Arito Nishiki was just a high-school student when he first saw the coast by night. From the windows of the night train, he remembers looking out over the vast heaving expanse that was the Sea of Japan. Three years ago, he returned to the scenery that left such a vivid impression on his memory in an attempt to ‘recall the image of that time’. Ever since, Nishiki has visited the same spot every winter to shoot his Namikake series.

“Namikake,” explains Nishiki “is a local coastal erosion phenomenon that occurs in the Kakumihama district south of Niigata City. It would uproot houses facing the sea every few decades. Several settlements sank into the sea by Namikake in the past”.

The photographs, which were taken in the southern part of Niigata city – a snowy district in the northern reaches of Japan – capture the dreamlike environment. The vacant space before us swirls with snowflakes, flashes of ocean blue, and bird wings beating across grey skies. Venturing out into the freezing night with a 35mm digital camera and shooting with a clip-on flash unit, Nishiki has managed to absorb his wild and hostile surroundings with a new, almost animal-like vision. He says, “I chose the winter night when the coast is exposed to the roughest weather”. Indeed, we see the land braced against a heavy onslaught of the elements, emphasizing that this is not a permanent landscape, but one subject to constant change.

“In the darkness of the night, it takes a long time to adjust my vision,” says Nishiki, “once my eyes get used to the darkness, various things like a big rock, trees, and the sea jump into my vision. They seemed to be wrapped by darkness before, but they appear in my vision suddenly. I feel like reality and fantasy, and also the boundaries of the existing and emerging become ambiguous when I’m on the beach all night.”

To see more of Nishiki’s work, visit: aritonishiki.com.

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At Southern coastline in Niigata City, Japan

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At Southern coastline in Niigata City, Japan

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At Southern coastline in Niigata City, Japan

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At Southern coastline in Niigata City, Japan

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At Southern coastline in Niigata City, Japan

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At Southern coastline in Niigata City, Japan

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At Southern coastline in Niigata City, Japan

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At Southern coastline in Niigata City, Japan

All images © Arito Nishiki

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