“This series Les Couleurs de Tôkyô has been inspired by a trip of several months in and around Tôkyô and through these images I wanted to explore the daily life of some Japanese. Japan is a country of contradictions both fascinating and confusing. These triptychs illustrate the country where tradition is never far from modernity.

Japan, a codified country where extremely perfectionist people become a ruthless work machine. Everyday life is set like a metronome, but with an incredible technological creativity also involving arts and crafts.

“The «beautiful» to console the heart.”

Discreet elegance can be found in every detail as well as in words and attitudes. Japanese tirelessly seek to control and anticipate the weather, the environment – particularly cruel – and people’s behaviour. For every Japanese, mistakes and failures become sources of challenge and improvement.

I wanted to illustrate their contrasts, sometimes far from our Western mind.

In this series, I am honoring courageous Japanese people who support each other and who can be both paradoxical and enriching.

At the same time, I was living a personal romantic story with a Japanese guy. I started to create a parallel between what I was observing in the society and what I was living in my life and with my feelings. Like through a prism, which selects the experience of one person, my own one.

Japan – April and October to December 2012”

Sonia Hamza is a French Moroccan photographer working on relations and human interactions (love, family roots and their environment), questioning her own experience. She plays with pictures, words and materials to tie and untie her feelings, influenced by her background as a Fashion designer.

Les Couleurs de Tôkyô was presented during Slideluck Roma.

Multimedia Tips

The double interview below is made with the author Sonia Hamza (SH) and the multimedia editor Maria Teresa Salvati (MTS).

a. What program was used to create the multimedia?

MTS: Adobe Premiere.

b. How and why did you choose that music?

SH: From the moment I have begun the project about Les Couleurs de Tôkyô, my love experience in Japan, I wanted to bring something from him. He is a professional musician and I fell in love after his concert in Paris. For me, his music is one of the main characters of our story. This track touches me the most. It sounds exactly like I feel about Japan (the positive side) and each time I jump into my souvenirs; it’s what I want to keep in my heart.

c. Why did you use a multimedia editor and producer for this project?

SH: Les Couleurs de Tôkyô is first a series of triptychs. I couldn’t transmit my experience and the anecdotes with just one picture. I guess there was a need for movement. When I have met Maria Teresa and I have seen her work with photographers, for me it was just obvious: the opportunity to connect with her and the project on a deeper level. Moreover, I don’t know so much about multimedia and instead of trying to do it by myself, I preferred to ask a professional and take the time to learn.

d. What was the editing process behind?

MTS: When I met Sonia, I spent a few hours to learn about her project and read the long handwritten story within the book format. So, the most important thing for me was to get a deeper understanding of her intention about the project.

Once that was clear, I started to think about the arduous task of transferring the emotions and feelings emerging from the book, into a multimedia format. The main difficulty lies in the fact that the book follows two narratives: one is made by the triptychs and talks about the Japanese society, the outside world; and the other is made by her personal love-story, represented by completely different types of images (rounded), and a long handwritten text.

So, how can you represent that in a format in which viewers have limited and fixed time available and the text can’t be too long?

In this case, we opted for giving more space to the Japanese society through the triptychs and, here and then insert hints of the personal story, so that the viewer can see that there are points of contact between the two narratives. The brief text, which represents a reading key for the observer, at the opening and closing of the multimedia, is also a way to help the reading of the story. And, of course the music and the building of the images following the sound pace, did help too.

I created a storyboard and then worked with Pasquale Polignano, which is a great movie producer, to bring that to life.

e. As the project was born as book format, why did you decide to make a multimedia and do you feel the video is coherent and adherent to your intention?

SH: I consider the video as one more way to bring the public into my Japanese experience. A more straight and quick way to transmit my emotions; and I guess the music helps a lot. The video is another piece (but it can exist by itself) of my trip.

I imagined Les Couleurs de Tôkyô in book format, in accordion shape, because I could show the two sides of my experience: outer and inner. I love books from my childhood and the touch of paper, so it’s a great pleasure to look for the best result for my project. But I still have the frustration because it’s still too static. I guess the ideal would be a multimedia book, something interactive. I want to make the reader part of the story. I need two versions: paper and e-book.

I am learning, and thanks to Maria Teresa and Pasquale I began to realize this multimedia book format.

Moreover, I feel this video as a great way to introduce Les Couleurs de Tôkyô to the public in different social media.

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Sonia Hamza | Les Couleurs de Tôkyô