Roadside Lights is a charming series from Japanese photographer Eiji Ohashi that captures vending machines in their natural surroundings. A native of the northernmost Japanese city of Wakkanai in Hokkaido prefecture, Ohashi was initially inspired to create the series during a tumultuous winter in his hometown. In the midst of a particularly heavy snowstorm, Ohashi became lost on the road, and could only find his way home by navigating the glow of vending machines that stood as the only familiar landmarks on the snow-covered streets. After that fateful event, Ohashi spent the next nine years photographing vending machines in various locations across Japan.
《Roadside Lights》（“街灯”）是日本摄影师Eiji Ohash以各个角落里的自动贩卖机为主题拍摄的一个摄影作品系列。Ohashi出生在日本最北端的城市——位于北海道的稚内市。在家乡一个大雪纷飞的冬天，他产生了创作这一系列的灵感。当时正在下一场特别大的暴风雪，Ohashi迷路了，在冰雪覆盖的街道上，他最后靠以自己所熟悉的那些明亮的自动贩卖机为路标，才成功回到家。经历了那次关键事件之后，Ohashi花了九年的时间，走遍日本各地，拍摄自动贩卖机。
Ohashi’s subjects glow with life in his photographs, with each vending machine seeming to exude a distinct personality of its own. For Ohashi, the vending machine serves as a metaphor to further examine the human condition. Ubiquitous in every corner of urban and rural Japan, these machines reflect human themes such as loneliness and alienation, corporate efficiency, and workforce automation – all relevant to life in modern Japanese society.
Ohashi says in his own words, “Coming close to dusk, the city and country both alike, the roadside vending machines light up. This particular scene of vending machines placed on ordinary roadsides is unique to Japan. Looking at the vending machines having been placed in the wilderness or downtown, one can see loneliness being illustrated. The machines work non-stop, despite it being day or night, but would be taken away once the sale drops. The machines would not exist if each and every one does not have its own color and shine. It just might be depicting the nature of us humans.”