Loneliness Despite Proximity: Pierfrancesco Celada’s Study of Isolation

2 minute read

IdeasTap, a charity that works to “fund, connect and nurture” new creative talent recently declared Pierfrancesco Celada the winner of its inaugural photographic award for his project, Japan, I wish I knew your name.

The Tokyo-Nagoya-Osaka Megalopolis, also called the Taiheiyo Belt, is a unique example of urban agglomeration, with an estimated 80 million people living within the area. During a brief visit to Japan in 2009, Celada was fascinated by the isolation and loneliness he felt in the streets. As a foreigner traveling in an alien environment, language and cultural differences augmented the temporal distance between himself and the locals. While observing people, it was clear to Celada that even the indigenous inhabitants were not able to interact successfully with each other.

“It is only possible to imagine the number of interactions that a person can have with other individuals in a single day. Despite this incredibly high number of chances to interact with people, it seems that society is moving in the opposite direction,” he says.

Celada returned to Japan in 2010 to better visualize his concept. “The purpose of this investigation was to create awareness and highlight the problems that modernization and the rapid changes in the environment create in our lives. Is it still important to be, or feel, part of a group? Do we feel part of the environment? Are we alone in the crowd?”

As part of his Ideastap award—in conjunction with Magnum Photos—Celada was flown to New York to work with Magnum in Motion to realize his project as a multimedia piece. Providing feedback each day, producers at Magnum worked with Celada to fine tune his vision. Lightbox presents the final result of that working process here.

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