Adventures of the
Kimono Cowboy in the
When friends were visiting me in Tokyo, they saw two ladies dressed in kimonos sitting across from us in a cafe.
One of my friends said:
‘Wouldn't the world be so much nicer if everyone wore their traditional clothes all the time?’
And I replied, ‘But that would mean that we would have to dress as cowboys day in and day out.’
How do our outward appearances affect the way that we meet and connect with other people?
I traveled Japan for several years as the 'Kimono Cowboy' photographing myself alongside real people with distinctive outward appearances associated with their place in Japanese society. Each time I went out to meet someone new for the project, I became the Kimono Cowboy from the moment I left home until the moment I returned; using this transformation as a way to connect with others.
The project is intentionally visually systematic and rigid, taking its stylistic cues from the stiff posing of early American portrait studios, and lampooning the photographic cataloguing of native peoples by Western anthropologists.
By taking on the iconic American Male archetype of ‘cowboy’ and entering the frame in this record of my travels in the Japanese ‘Far-West,’ I explore the complexly interconnected relationships between two countries and scrutinize the idea of the ‘exotic other’ as well as the neccisarily implied but often less considered role of ‘Western other’.