When celebrated photographer Greg Girard landed in Tokyo in April 1976, he expected to spend only a few days in the Japanese capital. At that time a “broke traveler” in his early 20s, he was headed to more affordable destinations in southeast Asia.
He left his luggage at Haneda Airport and, with nowhere to sleep, spent his first night in Tokyo roaming the streets of the city’s lively Shinjuku district, camera in hand.
“I was just floored by the way everything looked, because it was never presented in the West, this modern city,” Girard recalled in a video interview, noting that his arrival was long before movies like “Blade Runner” and ’90s pop culture exposed mainstream Western audiences to Asian metropolises.
I’ll never forget the first time I came across City of Darkness: Life in Kowloon Walled City by Greg Girard. Even if the entire lawless enclave was long demolished by the time I made it to Hong Kong, the book was one of the reasons that I made the venture to the city. Girard’s ability to put viewers right in the middle of his clandestine locations transports you, not only back in time, but allows you to feel the rawness of each situation.
In his newest book, JAL 76 88, the Vancouver, British Columbia native highlights photographs he took from the years 1976 to 1988 in Tokyo, Japan. What was supposed to be a quick few days quickly led to weeks as the futuristic city enthralled his senses and fed his appetite for discovery and documentation. Spanning over a decade, the works in JAL 76 88 see the urban jungle of Tokyo through the lens of Girard as social and physical transformations were taking place from the pre-bubble era, the full-on explosion in wealth afforded by the bubble economy, and the cusp of what we now know as the Lost Decade.
Every city is home to thousands of stories. If you look through photographer Greg Girard’s new book JAL 76-88, you’ll find dozens of evocative images taken across Japan in the 1970s and 1980s. Some feature neon-drenched urban landscapes, the kind of haunted cityscape that seems tailor-made for the opening shot of a film noir.
Greg Girard is the photographer behind the absolutely stunning retro images of Japan compiled in his latest photo book titled, JAL 76-88.
Arriving in Tokyo in the spring of 1976, photographer Greg Girard only intended to stay for a few days, until a late-night stroll through the city changed his mind.
In his latest photobook, Canadian photographer Greg Girard offers a vivid portrait of Tokyo during the 1970’s and 80’s, before it became one of the world’s most dynamic megacities.
Ridley Scott’s film adaptation of Blade Runner came out in 1982. It’s since become the blueprint for high-tech, neon-soaked dystopia and cyberpunk aesthetics: cities emblazoned with colourful billboards and 24-hour artificial light. Six years prior to its release, Canadian photographer Greg Girard (b. 1955) arrived in Tokyo. “Blade Runner-esque” had yet to enter the lexicon, and he was soon entranced by this modern, futuristic city. Girard quickly turned his lens on the city’s people and glowing nocturnal architecture. Now, this largely unseen collection of images is published in a new book: JAL 76 88.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Stray, the latest indie gaming hit that has caught everyone’s attention, is the beautifully rendered walled city that is inhabited by humanoid robots. The rich and intricate explorable space has been immensely praised by both reviewers and critics for its visual aesthetic, ambience and design.
In 1974, Greg Girard arrived in Hong Kong on a freighter from San Francisco armed with not just a camera slung over his shoulder but a starry-eyed vision of capturing the raw electricity that was charging through the rapidly changing continent at night. With Asia full of promise and infinite possibilities, the Canadian photographer was at once spellbound and spent the 30 years that followed navigating the chaotic yet unencumbered neon-lit alleys of Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, Thailand and Vietnam.
The Canadian photographer Greg Girard only intended to stay a few days in Tokyo when he arrived in 1976. “I spent the night wandering around Shinjuku and nearby neighbourhoods, and by morning I knew I wanted to stay,” he says in his new book, JAL 76 88 (the initials stand for Japan Airlines, while the numbers refer to the years the work spans).
The opening exhibition at UCCA Edge looks back at the moment Chinese contemporary art entered into global dialogue and the transforming urban fabric of Shanghai
As part of the Nocturnal Landscapes project, photographer and sociologist David Schalliol is leading a series of conversations with photographers who regularly work at night.