All About Photo is pleased to present The Systems That Shape Us by Aya Okawa
Part of the exclusive online showroom developed by All About Photo, this exhibition is on view for the months of February 2022 and includes seventeen photographs from the series ‘The Systems That Shape Us’
THE SYSTEMS THAT SHAPE US
We may tune out – or stop noticing – the infrastructure and systems that most deeply shape our lives as individuals and societies. As we go about our daily routines, do we consider the structures in place that put power in our electrical sockets, food in our grocery stores, plastic in our consumables, or salts in our batteries?
As a photographer & visual anthropologist, when I started flying in small planes I was struck by how tiny our all-important lives actually looked from above, when moments ago the concerns of the terrestrial life had seemed so all encompassing. Flying above my own town, I was duly shocked by how little I actually knew about the area that I had lived in for years – I drove around and explored on foot (or so I thought) – only to realize that all it took to keep a site out of view was something as insignificant as a 6 foot tall fence, a gate, or even nothing at all, in many cases. From above, I could see massive caverns gauged into the earth by bulldozers, vast stretches of electrical lines and transformer stations, landfills sprawling across hilltops, and industrial plants belching into water sources. Much of this I had never noticed or given much thought to.
I became fascinated by capturing and studying images of the infrastructure around my community, and those of communities globally – visually investigating the infrastructure that we may not heed in our everyday lives, and exploring the human-made systems that define the foundations of our societies, cultures and economies. In this exploration I was mesmerizee by the beauty in the patterns that emerged – in both the human-made & natural ecosystems – and my goal is to share this sense of awe and curiosity with others through this series. These photos were made in cities throughout the United States, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, & Belgium.