“I started to see the city almost like a living creature, which has personality. They’re reality, seen through memories,” explains Sohei Nishino about his awe-inspiring photo-collage, map-making.
Nishino’s inspiration for Diorama Maps comes from his home country, Japan, where the 18th cartographer, Inō Tadataka, sketched up some of the first methodical maps of Japan. Tadataka surveyed Japan by foot for over a decade, and then sketched his maps based on his travels. This method is not unlike Nishino’s because he spent three months in each city of his interest, such as Tokyo, Osaka, San Francisco, Jerusalem, and Istanbul to name a few, and shot hundreds of rolls of film to extensively document his memories of the cities. He then used his subjective memories and experiences from his travels to create his photo maps. “It’s not like a Google Map, each person can draw a different map in his head, deformed by memory and shaped by smells, sounds, and people. It’s shaped by the feeling of a city,” he says.
What makes this body of work more impressive, is that this project is all analog. “By touching the films, making contact sheets in the darkroom, cutting the paper with scissors, all these processes help me bring back my memory of the time I spent in the city,” Nishino states.