In both graphic design and photography, attention to composition and color are crucial in creating a visually engaging image. With these overlaps, it was only naturally for Tokyo-based graphic designer Ka_nai to begin dabbling with photography. While he doesn’t consider himself a photographer, he’s created an ongoing photo series dedicated to the random walls and building facades that’s grabbed his attention over the years. His ever-growing image collection, uploaded on Instagram under the hashtag #ザ壁部 (meaning “The Wall Department” in English), is a fun showcase of how his two skill sets feed off one another. Since the idea’s inception in 2012, his photos have inspired many others to contribute to the hashtag, which now boasts over 75,000 posts from users all over the world.
Ka_nai describes his foray into photography almost as if it were an accident. He tells us, “Soon after Instagram launched, I saw one of my friends using it and was inspired to try it out myself. At the time, it was just about following my close friends and them following me back. Many of them had beautifully curated feeds that focused on certain themes, such as landscape or pets, so I started thinking about if I could do something similar. I happened to have a photo of this interesting, but dilapidated, wall sitting on my camera roll so I decided to throw an Instagram filter on it and post it. When I saw that it started receiving positive feedback, I thought ‘This is it!'”
Ka_nai 从不以摄影师自称，他说自己开始接触摄影也是纯属意外。“Instagram 出现后不久，我看到一位朋友在玩，就想着也去玩玩。那时候，我的关注者都是一些好朋友。但是我的很多朋友都会精心按照特定主题来管理自己的账号，所以我开始考虑自己是不是也可以做类似的事情。我在自己拍的照片堆里偶然看到了一张照片，上面是一幢残旧的墙壁，我用 Instagram 滤镜处理了一下，就发上面去了。结果发现大家都挺喜欢这张照片的，我当时就想，‘这正是我要找的主题’！然后从那时候起，我就开始专注拍摄墙壁和建筑立面了。”
While many of Ka_nai’s images are simple snapshots of mundane settings, his keen sense of observation offers a refreshing perspective on the ordinary. Similar to his own work flow, he urges creatives to think outside of the box and explore concepts from different angles, no matter what medium or discipline they might be working in. “For me, I find that when looking for good shots, I might have to walk around and examine a building from different sides,” he says. “Usually, the most interesting ideas aren’t immediately obvious.”
虽然 Ka_nai 作品大多都是平凡日常的场景，但他以敏锐的观察，呈现出令人耳目一新的视角。他鼓励创意人跳出思维定式，无论是以什么媒介或在哪个领域创作，都应该从不同的角度去探索各种概念。“我发现，在拍摄的时候，最有趣的墙壁往往不是一眼就能看到的。有时候，在一幢建筑的背面，你会找到更有趣的画面。”