TORU UKAI  Photography

At present a few pictures of mine are exhibited at Galerie Pfundt in Berlin. For more information, please see the NEWS page.


My name is Toru Ukai (鵜養 透). I’m a Tokyo-based photographer and take pictures in Japan and occasionally somewhere in China or Europe.

What interests me the most is hidden and invisible structure in our modern society. The structure is working everywhere we live. Originally it’s born out of the whole desire of us, though it could often suppress and depress ourselves. I call the structure “Invisible Machinery”. Sometimes it’s embodied in the social systems, the law and the architecture. Sometimes it appears in our own behavior, gestures and figures. “Invisible Machinery” lies in the outside and even in the inside of us. It’s invisible but the signs are everywhere around/among us. And I think a photograph could capture the invisible structure so well.

A photo is totally different from our pure eyesight. Our eyesight is dynamic and based on the duration of time, that is, our life itself; on the other hand, a photo is static and excludes time/life from the whole reality in front of us. In the sense photography is the art of death. To photograph is nothing other than to “stop”. Therefore, a photo could perceive something hidden in our daily life which flows continuously. Photography is a secret ceremony going back and forth between “visible” and “invisible”.

I’m always ready to join some photographic project all over the world and open to your suggestions.
Thank you for visiting.



Ongoing Projects: “Prewar Days”, “Theater Degree Zero” and “山水 – Interface/Interference”


From the Archives: “Invisible Machinery” and “Baroque for Life”


China and Europe: It’s composed of my three projects worked on abroad.
“From the Terminal Station, Guangzhou 1997” and “Untitled SHANGHAI” in China, and “Elegies” in Europe

All images © Toru Ukai, 2018






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