Born in Osaka , Japan, in 1971, Shinya Arimoto received his degree in Visual Arts from Osaka University and now lives in Tokyo, where he runs his own photography gallery. His work has been exhibited widely around Japan and was awarded the Taiyo Award in 1998.
This series was taken in the Tibetan Cultural Area, in an attempt to record Tibetans’ strong national identity, to introduce it to a wider audience, and ultimately to preserve it for the next generation. Shinya Arimoto spent more than 500 days in Tibet making the 98 images in this series, which won the 35th Taiyo Award.
Why did you choose
I was enchanted with the beauty of the Tibetan people, whom I met when traveling around India.
What do you see when you look at these photos?
For me it's the feeling of meeting old friends again.
What research and production did you go through to make these images?
When I made this work, many parts of Tibet were still restricted to foreigners, so I had to persist against many challenges to be able to enter those areas.
Do your images help the viewer understand the subject in a new way?
I hope people think about their own relationship to other people in this world.
What did you learn by making these images?
I discovered the vitality of the people who live among the vastness of the Tibetan plains.
Ten years after making his original “Portraits of Tibet,” Shinya returned to the town Serxu (in Chinese, Zhaxika in Tibetan) in the Ganzi Tibet Autonomous Regions. For years the people there had made their living trading with other nomads, but China’s recent economic development brought changes to the lives of these Tibetans as well. Motorcycles have almost replaced horses and people on cell phones now pace the renovated streets. By exploring these changes as well as the traditions the town holds onto, Shinya hopes to also explore the changes he’s gone through in the last decade.