Ellingham is originally from New Zealand, a place, he describes, as “difficult to find a contrast between old and new.” Tokyo, on the other hand, is quite the opposite. On the surface, and under each layer, and many levels of history. Having relocated to Tokyo, Ellingham was working a design job in Ueno. He would leave early in the morning and return late at night, only occasionally emerging from the darkness. This became the genesis for DERIVE.
“DERIVE is about showing the layers of the world’s first cyberpunk city”
Elligham wandered Tokyo, capturing it in the dark in a cyberpunk aesthetic inspired by William Gibson’s 1984 novel Neuromancer, which is set in a dystopian Japanese underworld. “DERIVE is about showing the layers of the world’s first cyberpunk city,” says Ellingham. “It’s history: from the boom of modernity a hundred years ago, the meteoric economic rise in the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s, to the ubiquitous technology and connectivity of today. All of these things have affected the city, and have also left a kind of shadow on the people who live here.”
Ellingham’s photos were on display in Tokyo earlier this year. But if you missed the show, he continues to sell limited edition prints. You can get in touch with him on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. And if you like this style of photography, you’ll also probably enjoy Masashi Wakui’s photographs of Tokyo at night. The two occasionally walk around together shooting Tokyo.