Q. Sakamaki, a Japanese photographer who moved to New York almost 30 years ago, has focused his work on culture, gentrification, and conflict both in the United States and abroad. One of Sakamaki’s personal projects focuses on China’s “outer lands”—areas experiencing huge changes during China’s modernization—and ethnic groups including the Uighurs, Manchus, Bais and Mongols. “China has so many elements, historically and culturally,” Sakamaki told PDN via email. “Changes in the balance of power over time have created waves of migrants looking for better lives. Today, they face the phenomenon of China’s massive economic development that often creates enormous economic disparity as well as conflict between the old guard and the newcomers.” Sakamaki also says the project has helped him learn more about himself and his Japanese identity. “There is [a] complicated, close relationship between China and Japan, like brothers and sisters who influence but often hate each other.”
Sakamaki will discuss his work with photo editor Jamie Wellford on Tuesday in New York City as part of The Half King’s photography series. Sakamaki worked with Wellford when the latter was a photo editor at Newsweek, and have since developed a close friendship. “We often exchange our opinions about how photojournalism and/or photo documentary should be to make the photography [industry] grow,” Sakamaki says.
Though Sakamaki’s “China’s Outer Lands” project was shot with a DSLR, he also shoots with an iPhone, uploading an image almost every day. “It is my experimental, personal tool. I often [post] photos that could be metaphors of mine.”
Sakamaki’s exhibition opens tomorrow, March 31, 2015, at The Half King in New York City. Join Sakamaki and Wellford at 7:30 pm for a conversation about the work. The exhibition will be on view through May 24, 2015. For more on Sakamaki, please visit his website.