Shinya Arimoto – From Tibet to Tokyo

Shinya Arimoto was born in 1971 in Japan. He studied at the School of Visual Arts in Osaka. While his body of work consists of a lot of Tokyo street photography, his first considered masterpiece was the book “Portrait of Tibet”. At that time, he was mostly using the Rolleiflex 2.8F, although these days he mostly uses a Hasselblad 903SWC.


Tokyo Circulation


Hasselblad 903SWC – Wide Angle Street

His main impetus in shows are images of structures, objects, women and homeless people in Tokyo. This includes the images in his latest 2 books, “Tokyo Circulation”. (seen above) As opposed to most street photographers, he is known for composing ‘in camera’. These careful compositions reflect his careful snap of a photograph. His world is populated In contrast to a lot of other street photographers he does not just snap his camera but carefully creates the images showing a photographer who communicates with his subjects. The world he shows us is chaotic and vibrant yet he manages to create a sense of calm within his photographs. His by both the vibrant and chaotic nature of the streets of Tokyo.


Portrait of Tibet


Courage in Tibet

When he worked on his first book in Tibet, foreigners were not welcomed by the Chinese government. In fact, many towns were closed off to the prying eyes of the outside world. So, he wore a the national costume of Tibet, Hitchhiking around the country greatly exposed him to arrest by the authorities. China wanted no images of Tibet released to the world. Attribute his bravery to sheer courage or the craziness and folly of youth. Either way, the images were stunning. He went there 4 times.




Street Portraiture

His empathy and intimacy of his images are still apparent in his Tokyo street photography. Most of which are almost portraiture, as opposed to a stealthy type photography. Even when it’s obviously a homeless person, his respect for all of humanity is apparent in every click of the shutter.




In 2009 he returned to Tibet to give a book to every person in the book. Unfortunately, the nomadic nature of the Tibetan culture enabled only partial completion of that project.


Shinya Arimoto


Shinya Arimoto has been exhibiting since 1994. and he currently also teaches photography at the Tokyo School of Visual Arts. See more work at his website below. Find Hasselblad 903 SWC or Find Rolleiflex 2.8F

Shinya Arimoto Website

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