One evening, as I sat alone overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem, it struck me how closed off the world has become. There are just too many borders and walls separating us. But beyond this, we've also cut ourselves off on the inside too. We cling to differences that drive home the distinction between 'us' and 'them' and forget that underneath it all, we're the same. So what if we smashed down the walls? I mean, the ones we've built inside anyway, the ones we can control. What if we learned to look past exteriors, like skin color, religion, nationality, race, culture and way of living—all the things we traditionally identify with yet that perpetuate the notion of 'other'—so we could see what lies beneath? A truer love of ourselves and others would surely spring forth, a love that knows no bounds, that isn't enslaved by any notion or nation, a borderless love.
In some ways, opening this photo studio in Tokyo is my small way of trying to bring a little sunshine into a messy world. I want to document humanity in all its beauty, from the weaknesses and frailties of the human condition to our fortitude and resilience along with times of happiness and sadness, and to portray us as one human family, free of walls and barriers. Taking photos and hearing people's stories are also a way for me to deepen my personal connection with the world and its inhabitants. We spend too much time worried about the little issues in our lives that we forget to see the beauty in everyone and everything. So I'm viewing this endeavor both as a way to show that we are more than an outer shell conditioned with identity as well as a bit of cathartic healing for myself. My vision is a world free of borders, both in the physical world and in the mental world.