Capturing Tokyo: Unveiling the Harmony Between Chaos and OrderCapturing Tokyo: Unveiling the Harmony Between Chaos and Order

Capturing Tokyo: Unveiling the Harmony Between Chaos and Order

Sara Guerrero's lens captures the dance between chaos and harmony as she journey’s through Tokyo, Teshima and Naoshima.

Barcelona based filmmaker and photographer Sara Guerrero shares her unique perspective on interplay between chaos and harmony. Through her lens, Japan’s vibrant pulse and tranquil temples converge, initiating a cultural odyssey that celebrates the delicate equilibrium.

My first experience of Japan was the city of Tokyo. Whenever I travel, I tend to aim for scenic landscape destinations, but for the first time, a city captivated me. I carried my camera at all times and it felt as though every moment was worth capturing.
Although on the surface it may seem like a chaotic city, after walking around and observing, I came to understand the order within its seeming ‘disorder.’ With time, I ended up feeling a part of it. It’s the simple details, like the way hoards of people enter and exit the subway in such an orderly manner that captivated my attention. The way people behave in this culture I saw reflected in the square cars and perfectly divided houses. All of it makes me feel embraced somehow, even in a seemingly hostile place — which is how cities usually feel for me. My camera and I walked to the rhythm of the city, letting ourselves be carried away by the chaos and symmetry that fascinated my lens.
After this initial encounter, I set out to explore what has always caught my attention about this country: its coexistence with Buddhism. Visiting different cities, temples, and shrines, I could sense the past and the present, witnessing how the Japanese relate to their natural environment. Seeing the evening light play among different spaces, hearing the sounds of birds, leaves, and water. I intuitively captured these small details through my photography. I mostly work with analog format, and this time, more than ever, it made sense to preserve those little moments that transport me back to the sensations of that place. For this, I shoot with the classic 50mm lens, because it allows me to create close-ups in broader compositions or focus in on the details.
Finally, I headed to Teshima and Naoshima. These islands are mostly occupied by art installations and exhibitions, so they are commonly known as “museum island”, housing Yayoi Kusama, Claude Monet and Lee Ufan work, among others. When I was heading there by boat, I could already feel like I was getting into a special place.
The islands are small, so you can walk or ride a bicycle everywhere. After days of taking high-speed trains it felt good to slow down, feel more grounded and appreciate the space at a different pace. While exploring the landscape, it was magic to see how the different art pieces blended and dissolved into the environment, as if they had always belonged there. I thoroughly enjoyed photographing how the space itself became part of the artwork, understanding it as a unity that wouldn't make sense in a different room or place.
On the boat ride back, there was an amazing lunar eclipse. It was then under the sky, with all the emotions of the art and culture experienced those days that I realised the importance of consistently seeking to understand ourselves in the context of our natural surroundings. This understanding encompasses not only the serene landscapes but also the dynamic energy of bustling cities, allowing us to uncover the inherent unity where chaos and order coalesce into a greater whole.