The Kawau are large seabirds, not unlike seagulls, that were pushed to the brink of extinction in Japan in the 1970s due to pollution. But in recent years they’ve come back – with a vengeance. Estimates now put the population of Kawau in Japan at as many as 150,000 and last year they were responsible for over 10 billion yen (about $100 million) in damages to the fishing industry because of their voracious appetite for eel and ayu (sweetfish). Recently, the Japanese government even approved the use of drones to stem Kawau population growth and keep them away from fish farms.
For photographer Yoshinori Mizutani, the sight of these huge birds perched on electric wires in Tokyo were both “visually shocking and at the same time breath-taking.” And they became the basis for a new series of photographs called Kawau. Mizutani photographed the birds in black and white as the perched on electric wires along Tokyo’s Tama River. The compositions, both beautiful and eerie, are reminiscent of musical notes, but also the Alfred Hitchcock film Birds.
Mizutani’s new series is being turned into a photobook by the same name. His photographs will be on display later this month at IMA Concept Store on Tokyo from July 29 to September 24, 2016.